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Barbarakraut, also known as winter cress (Barbarea vulgaris), is a little-known but incredibly versatile medicinal plant. This plant, which often grows in damp meadows and on riverbanks, has a long history in folk medicine and is valued for its numerous health benefits. This article describes the discovery, use, dosage, healing properties and other important aspects of Barbarakraut in detail.

Barbarakraut: The discovery

The discovery of Barbarakraut dates back to ancient times. The Romans and Greeks were already using the plant for its healing properties. They quickly realized that it could alleviate a wide range of ailments. The plant was also frequently used in medieval monastic medicine, and many traditional herbals from this period refer to its diverse applications.

Forms of application and dosage

Barbarakraut can be taken in a number of different ways. Freshly harvested leaves and flowers can be used directly in salads or as a side dish. They give the food a spicy flavor, similar to that of rocket. It is also popular to prepare it as a tea. To do this, the dried leaves and flowers are poured over with hot water and allowed to steep for about ten minutes.

For medicinal purposes, it can also be taken in the form of tinctures or powders. The exact dosage depends on the form in which it is taken:

  • Fresh leaves: about 50-100 grams daily.
  • Tea: two to three cups per day.
  • Tincture: 20-30 drops three times a day.
  • Powder: 1-2 grams daily.

Barbarakraut: healing properties

It has a range of healing properties that can help with various ailments:

  • Digestive problems: The bitter substances it contains stimulate digestion and can help with stomach complaints, flatulence and loss of appetite.
  • Inflammation: Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can provide relief for arthritis, rheumatism and other inflammatory diseases.
  • Immune system: The high vitamin C content strengthens the immune system and can prevent colds and flu.
  • Skin problems: It can be used internally or externally as a compress for skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.
  • Detoxification: The diuretic properties promote the excretion of toxins from the body and support kidney function.

How it works in the body

The active ingredients in Barbarakraut, in particular mustard oil glycosides, flavonoids and vitamin C, play a crucial role in its healing properties. The mustard oil glycosides have an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect, while the flavonoids have antioxidant properties that protect the body from harmful free radicals. The vitamin C it contains strengthens the immune system and supports the formation of collagen, which is important for healthy skin and joints.

Recommended intake and contraindications

Barbarakraut should be taken primarily when there are specific complaints that can be alleviated by its healing properties. This can be the case, for example, with digestive problems, inflammation or a weakened immune system.

However, there are also groups of people who should refrain from taking it. These include pregnant and breastfeeding women, as the effects on the unborn child or infant have not been sufficiently researched. People with kidney problems should also be careful, as the diuretic effect can put a strain on the kidneys.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

Various food supplements and medicinal plants can be combined to support the effect of Barbarakraut:

  • Turmeric: enhances the anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Ginger: Promotes digestion and also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Vitamin D: Boosts the immune system and general health.
  • Probiotics: Improve intestinal health and can help with digestive problems when taken with Barbarakraut.

Foods with a high Barbarakraut content

Barbarakraut itself is rarely available as a food, but similar cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and arugula can be consumed and have similar health-promoting properties. These foods are rich in mustard oil glycosides and offer similar health benefits to Barbarakraut.

Barbarakraut: Possible adverse effects and overdose

As with many medicinal plants, side effects may occur when taken. Possible side effects are:

  • Stomach problems: Sensitive individuals may experience nausea or diarrhea.
  • Allergic reactions: In rare cases, skin rashes or itching may occur.

Overdosing on Barbarakraut is rare, but it can lead to severe gastrointestinal complaints and, in extreme cases, to kidney damage. It is therefore important not to exceed the recommended dosage and to consult a doctor if in doubt.

Barbarakraut: Use in naturopathy

In naturopathy, Barbarakraut is often used as a natural remedy to promote digestion and strengthen the immune system. Traditional uses include the treatment of infections, inflammation and skin diseases. The plant is valued in both traditional European medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).


Barbarakraut is an impressive medicinal plant with many health-promoting properties. Its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and digestive properties make it a valuable component of natural medicine. However, it is important to pay attention to the correct dosage and to keep an eye on possible contraindications. With its versatile application and the support of complementary medicinal plants, it can make an important contribution to health and well-being.

Published on: 25. June 2024


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