Nature and Health – The Healing Properties of Capers

Nature and Health

The Healing Properties of Capers

 By Ralph Kratzer

Capers_2The Caper is a shrub which has enchanted its consumers with its healing properties, delicious taste and flavour enhancing attributes for centuries.

Capers (“Gabbar” in Cypriot Turkish) have been known for their useful characteristics for a long time and their popularity is constantly increasing.

Capers_3The Latin name of the shrub is “Capparis spinosa” and it has been known for its edible bud and fruit. Caper buds or berries have various culinary and medical uses and the perennial shrub grows wild in walls and rocky coastal areas. It bears rounded, fleshy leaves and big white to Capers_4pinkish flowers, but it’s probably not the kind of plant you would like to have in your garden. It looks like weed and has no aesthetic beauty, but it is highly resilient. The Caper is native to the Mediterranean region and is especially abundant in Anatolia, eastern Black Sea coast, south-eastern Turkey and Cyprus.

Hundreds of years ago a man called Saint Celebi said about the Caper: Despite the sandy grounds and the dry conditions, there is a plant named “gebre” here, used by the locals to make pickles. They pick the buds and fruit, pickle them in vinegar and oil, producing a highly beneficial dish.

Capers_1Caper buds are the size of peas and are very high in vitamins, protein, minerals, antioxidants and mustard oil.

According to research conducted in Israel, capers are effective in the treatment of diabetes. Other research has shown their positive cosmetic effect against irritations of the skin and bristly hair. In European countries capers are said to have a carminative, constipation-relieving, diuretic and aphrodisiac effect. In Spain it is used in the treatment of strangury, inflammation and poisonings. In India the sprouts, roots and seeds are used to produce an analgesic medicine. In addition, various researches have shown that “rutin”, a powerful antioxidant contained in the buds, acts against bleedings in the capillary veins. Furthermore, it is said to heal paralysis, rheumatism, anaemia, enlargement of the spleen and as well to benefit the functioning of the liver.

For culinary uses the Caper buds are pickled in vinegar to produce a delicious dish, often used as a seasoning or garnish. Especially in Cyprus these pickles are a common ingredient in many local dishes.

Capers_5Capers are worth their weight in gold…

Naturally, such a healthy and delicious product with the previously named diversity of usage is worth a fortune. The buds and other parts of the shrub are used for medical products, in the food industry and for cosmetics. For many countries growing and exporting Caper products it is a great source of income. Main Capers_6importing countries are the USA, Germany, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, UK, Australia and Canada. For example Spain, both growing and processing capers, is making millions of Dollars in this business.

If you have ever tasted this small green delicacy, which is used as an ingredient in a great variety of Mediterranean dishes, you will understand why…


About tfrsecretary

Born in Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany in 1957, I was educated at a Baccalaureate High School. Later completed Technical University with a degree in Economic Informatics. I served for 12 years in the German Army before joining a French computer company for another 10 years. Then ran my own motorcycle and gastronomy businesses before deciding to retire. I arrived in North Cyprus with my second wife in 2004 and since her sad loss in 2011, I have kept myself very busy trying to help others with similar problems and in 2012 became the Secretary of “The Foreign Residents in the TRNC” (TFR). I am very keen to see expat communities coming together and playing their part in helping North Cyprus, our adopted homeland.
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One Response to Nature and Health – The Healing Properties of Capers

  1. I’m disappointed to see the caper berry plant being described as “It looks like weed and has no aesthetic beauty, but it is highly resilient” for I think it’s a most attractive plant

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