Cochlearia. Cochlearia officinalis L. Common Scurvy-grass, Herbe au Scorbut, Fr. Herba Cochleariae, P. G. Löffelkraut, G. Spoonwort.—This annual or biennial cruciferous plant, is a native of northern and middle Europe and growing in Arctic America generally. The whole herb is active. It has, when fresh, a pungent, unpleasant odor if bruised, and a warm, acrid, bitter taste. These properties are lost by drying. They are imparted to water and alcohol by maceration, are retained by the expressed juice, and probably depend on a peculiar volatile oil, which is separable in very small quantity by distillation with water, and is probably produced by reaction between a fixed principle in the plant and water, under the influence of myrosin acting as a ferment. (Chem. Cb., 1856, 124.) According to Hofmann, the oil is a sulphur-containing oil of the butylic series, having the formula C5H9NS=C4H9CSN
Common scurvy-grass has been much used in scurvy, and even in chronic rheumatism. The fresh plant may be eaten as a salad, or used in infusion; the expressed juice has also been used.