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Thlaspi Arvense

Thlaspi Arvense Bai Jiang Cao - Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Pinyin: Bai Jiang Cao Latin: Thlaspi Arvense

Physical Characteristics

Thlaspi Arvense is an annual growing to 0.6m, hardy to zone 6, not frost tender. Thlaspi Arvense is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees and Flies. Thlaspi Arvense is self-fertile.

Thlaspi Arvense prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. Thlaspi cannot grow in the shade and requires moist soil.



Traditional Chinese Medicinal (TCM) Uses:*

Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed. Edible Uses: Condiment.*

The Young leaves or Thlaspi Arvense are use raw or cooked[2, 5, 52, 62, 185]. They should always be harvested before the plant comes into flower or they will be very bitter[9]. Even the young leaves have a somewhat bitter flavour and aroma, and are not to everyone's taste[9, 85].*

Thlaspi leaves can be added in small quantities to salads and other foods[9, 183]. They can also be cooked in soups or used as a potherb, they taste somewhat like mustard but with a hint of onion[183]. For a leaf, Thlaspi is very rich in protein[218]. The seed is ground into a powder and used as a mustard substitute[105, 183]. The seed can be sprouted and added to salads[183].*

Medicinal Uses*

Thlaspi Arvense is Antirheumatic, diuretic[46, 61].*

The seed is a tonic[218]. Both the seed and the young shoots are said to be good for the eyes[218]. The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine and are considered to have an acrid taste and a cooling potency[241].*

Thlaspi seeds are anti-inflammatory and febrifuge, being used in the treatment of pus in the lungs, renal inflammation, appendicitis, seminal and vaginal discharges[241]. The entire plant is antidote, anti-inflammatory, blood tonic, depurative, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge and hepatic[176, 218].*

Thlaspi Arvense is used in the treatment of carbuncles, acute appendicitis, intestinal abscess, post-partum pain, dysmenorrhoea and endometriosis[176]. Use with caution since large doses can cause a decrease in white blood cells, nausea and dizziness[176]. The plant has a broad antibacterial activity[218], effective against the growth of Staphylococci and streptococci[176].*


  • [K] Ken Fern
  • [1] F. Chittendon.RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press 1951
  • [4] Grieve.A Modern Herbal. Penguin 1984 ISBN 0-14-046-440-9
  • [37] Thompson. B.The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. 1878
  • [43] Fernald. M. L.Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. 1950
  • [165] Mills. S. Y.The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
  • [174] Kariyone. T.Atlas of Medicinal Plants.
  • [175] Bird. R. (Editor)Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed') Thompson and Morgan. 1991
  • [177] Kunkel. G.Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books 1984 ISBN 3874292169
  • [200] Huxley. A.The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press 1992 ISBN 0-333-47494-5
  • [219] Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V.Gardening on Walls Collins 1983 ISBN 0-00-219220-0
  • [222] Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. 1990 ISBN 0395467225
  • [232] Castro. M.The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London. 1990 ISBN 0-333-55581-3
  • [235] Britton. N. L. Brown. A.An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. 1970 ISBN 0-486-22642-5
  • [238] Bown. D.Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. 1995 ISBN 0-7513-020-31
  • [254] Chevallier. A.The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London 1996 ISBN 9-780751-303148
  • [257] Moerman. D.Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. 1998 ISBN 0-88192-453-9
  • [270] Flora of N. America

Source: Thlaspi Arvense Plants For A Future, England 1996-2008.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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