Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) medicinal herb is a plant and vegetable that is native to Asia and Europe. It is a part of the Brassicaceae or the cabbage family. The main parts used as herbal medicine are the leaves, roots and the stems.
It is a perennial plant found mainly by the banks of rivers and streams. Currently, it is popularly loved and used by many people for its many benefits and it is highly nutritious.
The medicinal properties are tonic, stimulant, depurative, diuretic, antiseptic, hypoglycemic, antibacterial, stomachic, antiviral and antioxidant.
The common names are Water cress, Nasturtium officinale, Waterkres, Indian cress, Scurvy grass, Selada-Air and Tall nasturtium. The constituents include vitamin A, C, E, K, minerals, iron, iodine and volatile oil.
Although this medicinal herb is mainly used for garnishing and salads on the culinary side, especially in China, it is also used as herbal medicine for a number of ailments.
We could really learn a thing or two from the Chinese when it comes to eating healthy. They used this medicinal herb in a remedy for cough that they referred to as the Cantonese cough remedy.
This remedy is comprised of water cress, apricot kernels and dried duck gizzards. This sounds very yucky, but really effective or it would not be consumed by the Chinese.
When all three ingredients are combined it is cooked very slowly for many hours. It is of the belief that the water cress will get rid of the extra amount of yang situated in the body.
The duck gizzards will counterbalance the recipe's yin yang and the apricot kernels will focus on the lungs.
Water cress is a good remedy to treat catarrh of the upper respiratory tract as well as gout. As a matter of fact, since Hippocrates, this medicinal herb is utilized as a treatment for colds, coughs and other bronchial conditions such as tuberculosis.
It can be used to enhance the immune system as well as promote the functions of the brain, decrease blood sugar, treat lung cancer, breast cancer and constipation.
Also, arthritis, baldness, diabetes, gingivitis, eczema, scabies, earache, flu, swine flu, polyps, scurvy, worms, acne, lowers body weight and promote vim and vitality.
Research has shown that when it is combined with turmeric it may stunt the growth of prostate cancer.
It is seen as one the beauty foods that can assist in beauty aids due to the abundance of antioxidants that are found in it. Antioxidants are known to fight signs associated with aging.
It is also in the Ayurveda pitta food list as a cooling food. It would really do you well to explore this plant and try out the various recipes that are attached to it.
It is best to combine it with milk when consuming it because it can cause inflammation in the throat if it is taken without diluting it.
Overuse of this medicinal plant can lead to damaged kidneys. So while some people use it as soup diet to lose weight, it is not advisable due to the danger of overuse.
Pregnant women are warned to stay away from it because watercress can cause abortion.
Boil stems and leaves in water until it becomes like soup then consume half of a cup daily. Please be reminded that prolong use of watercress can be dangerous.
Updated February 28, 2020