Herb: Swede

Latin name: Brassica napus napobrassica

Synonyms: Brassica napobrassica, Brassica napus napobrassicae

Family: Cruciferae

Medicinal use of Swede:

The root is emollient and diuretic. The juice of the roots is used in the treatment of chronic coughs and bronchial catarrh. The seed, powdered, with salt is said to be a folk remedy for cancer. Rape oil is used in massage and oil baths, it is believed to strengthen the skin and keep it cool and healthy. With camphor it is applied as a remedy for rheumatism and stiff joints.

Description of the plant:


75 cm
(2 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Swede:

Leaves - cooked as a potherb. A mild, cabbage-like flavour. Root - raw or cooked. A richer flavour than turnips, it makes a good cooked vegetable and, when finely grated, is acceptable in mixed salads. The root can be 30cm or more in diameter, though it is usually eaten smaller since it then is more tender. It is available from early autumn, and can either be left in the ground over winter to be harvested as required, or can be harvested and stored in a cool, frost-free place where it will keep for 6 months.

Other uses of the herb:

The seed contains up to 45% of an edible semi-drying oil, it is used as a luminant, lubricant, in soap making etc.

Propagation of Swede:

Seed - sow April to June in situ.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Brassica napus napobrassica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.