Herb: Turnip

Latin name: Brassica rapa

Synonyms: Brassica campestris rapa, Brassica campestris rapifera, Brassica rapa rapifera, Brassica rapa septiceps, Brassica septiceps

Family: Cruciferae

Medicinal use of Turnip:

A decoction of the leaves or stems is used in the treatment of cancer. The powdered seed is said to be a folk remedy for cancer. The crushed ripe seeds are used as a poultice on burns. Some caution should be exercised here since the seed of most brassicas is rubefacient. The root when boiled with lard is used for breast tumours. A salve derived from the flowers is said to help skin cancer.

Description of the plant:


45 cm
(1 foot)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Turnip:

Leaves - raw or cooked. The cooked leaves make an acceptable vegetable, though they are coarser than the related cabbage. They are more often used as a spring greens, sowing the plants in the autumn and allowing them t overwinter. Young leaves can also be added in small quantities to salads, they have a slightly hot cabbage-like flavour and some people find them indigestible. A nutritional analysis is available. Root - raw or cooked. Often used as a cooked vegetable, the young roots can also be grated and eaten in salads, they have a slightly hot flavour like a mild radish. A nutritional analysis is available.

Other uses of the herb:

Turnip root peelings contain a natural insecticide. The chopped roots can be brewed into a tea with flaked soap, this is then strained before use. It is effective against aphids, red spider mites and flies.

Propagation of Turnip:

Seed - sow in situ from early spring to late summer. The first sowing can be made under cloches in late winter and will be ready for use in early summer. The latest sowings for winter use can be made in mid to late summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Brassica rapa:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.