Herb: Wild Pepper Grass

Latin name: Lepidium virginicum

Family: Cruciferae

Medicinal use of Wild Pepper Grass:

The leaves of wild pepper-grass are nutritious and generally detoxifying, they have been used to treat vitamin C deficiency and diabetes, and to expel intestinal worms. The herb is also diuretic and of benefit in easing rheumatic pain. North American Indians used the bruised fresh plant, or a tea made from the leaves to treat poison ivy rash and scurvy. A poultice of the leaves was applied to the chest in the treatment of croup. The seed is antiasthmatic, antitussive, cardiotonic and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of coughs and asthma with excessive phlegm, oedema, oliguria and liquid accumulation in the thoraco-abdominal cavity.A poultice of the bruised roots has been used to draw out blisters. The root is used to treat excess catarrh within the respiratory tract.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Dry sandy soils in waste places and by roads. Avoids dense woods and wet places.

Edible parts of Wild Pepper Grass:

Young leaves - raw or cooked. The leaves are a rich source of vitamin C and have a hot cress-like flavour. Chopped finely and added to salads, used as a garnish or cooked as greens. Unripe seedpods have a pleasantly pungent flavour and can be eaten raw or used as a condiment in soups and stews. The seed is a pepper substitute.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in situ. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks.

Cultivation of Wild Pepper Grass:

Dry sandy soils in waste places and by roads. Avoids dense woods and wet places.

Known hazards of Lepidium virginicum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.