Herb: Rape


Latin name: Brassica napus napus


Synonyms: Brassica campestris napus


Family: Cruciferae



Medicinal use of Rape:

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:



Plant:
Annual/Biennial


Height:
120 cm
(4 feet)

Flovering:
May to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Banks of streams, ditches and arable fields in Britain.

Edible parts of Rape:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Added to salads or used as a potherb. Immature flowering stems - cooked in much the same way as broccoli. An edible oil is obtained from the seed, it is used mainly for cooking purposes, but also for salads. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. The sprouted seed is often used as the mustard part of mustard and cress. Eaten in salads. The seed is used as a mustard flavouring.

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 Rape:

Seed - sow spring in situ.

Cultivation of the herb:

Banks of streams, ditches and arable fields in Britain.

Known hazards of Brassica napus napus:

The oil contained in the seed of some varieties of this species can be rich in erucic acid which is toxic. However, modern cultivars have been selected which are almost free of erucic acid.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.