Scurvy Grass: A Detailed Examination of Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, and Dosage

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Scurvy Grass: A Comprehensive Guide to Its Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, and Dosing


Scurvy grass, scientifically known as Cochlearia officinalis, is an herbaceous plant native to Europe and North America. It belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which includes vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Scurvy grass has been traditionally used for centuries to treat and prevent various ailments, including scurvy, colds, and digestive issues. In recent years, it has gained popularity as a dietary supplement due to its purported health benefits.

Nutritional Composition

Scurvy grass is a nutrient-rich plant that contains various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Key nutritional components include:

  • Vitamin C: Abundant in scurvy grass, this vitamin plays a crucial role in immune function, collagen synthesis, and antioxidant protection.
  • Potassium: An essential mineral involved in fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve function.
  • Sulforaphane: A potent antioxidant found in cruciferous vegetables, linked to anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.
  • Glucosinolates: Sulfur-containing compounds that have been associated with protective effects against certain types of cancer.

Traditional Uses

Traditionally, scurvy grass has been used to treat a wide range of conditions:

  • Scurvy: This disease is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, which is essential for collagen production. Scurvy grass has a high content of vitamin C and has been used to prevent and treat this condition since the Middle Ages.
  • Colds and flu: The antibacterial and antiviral properties of scurvy grass make it a traditional remedy for respiratory tract infections.
  • Digestive issues: Scurvy grass has been used to alleviate digestive complaints such as gas, bloating, and indigestion.

Modern Uses and Health Benefits

In addition to its traditional uses, modern research has shed light on potential health benefits of scurvy grass:

  • Antioxidant activity: The high concentration of antioxidants in scurvy grass can help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects: Sulforaphane in scurvy grass has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
  • Immune support: Vitamin C and other antioxidants in scurvy grass can boost immune function and protect against infections.
  • Potential anti-cancer effects: Glucosinolates in scurvy grass have been linked to reduced risk of certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer and lung cancer.

Forms of Supplementation

Scurvy grass is available in various supplement forms, including:

  • Capsules: These contain dried and powdered scurvy grass.
  • Tablets: Similar to capsules, but may contain additional ingredients.
  • Extracts: Concentrated forms of scurvy grass that provide higher levels of nutrients.
  • Tinctures: Alcoholic extracts of scurvy grass.
  • Fresh herb: Can be incorporated into salads, smoothies, or teas.

Dosage Recommendations

Appropriate dosage recommendations for scurvy grass supplements vary depending on the desired purpose, form of supplementation, and individual factors. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking scurvy grass supplements to determine the optimal dosage for you.

Side Effects and Precautions

Scurvy grass is generally considered safe when consumed in moderate amounts. However, some potential side effects include:

  • Stomach upset: High doses of scurvy grass may cause digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Allergic reactions: People allergic to other members of the Brassicaceae family may experience allergic reactions to scurvy grass.
  • Interactions with medications: Scurvy grass may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and thyroid medications.
  • Contraindications: Scurvy grass is not recommended for people with certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease or thyroid disorders.


  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consuming large amounts of scurvy grass.
  • People with kidney disease should consult with a healthcare professional before taking scurvy grass supplements.
  • Individuals who are taking blood thinners or thyroid medications should talk to their doctor about potential interactions.
  • It’s important to purchase scurvy grass supplements from reputable sources to ensure purity and quality.


Scurvy grass is a nutrient-rich plant with a long history of medicinal use. While research supports some of its traditional and health benefits, it’s important to approach supplementation with caution and consult with a healthcare professional before use. By following recommended dosages, taking necessary precautions, and considering potential side effects, scurvy grass can be a beneficial addition to a balanced diet for promoting overall health and well-being.

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