WATERCRESS, Nasturtium officinale


Latin name: Nasturtium officinale

English name: Watercress

Sanskrit name: Jalkumbhi

Medicinal parts used: Seeds

Watercress is an aquatic, perennial herb with dark green, shining leaves divided into several leaflets. It has hollow angular stems and many branches. It has a pleasant and pungent flavor and is used in salads.

Watercress contains all the essential vitamins and is rich in alkaline elements. It consists of moisture, protein, carbohydrates and fat. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and C, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It also contains nicotinamide, a glucoside, gluconasturtin and a volatile oil.

Therapeutic use:

  • Watercress is an excellent remedy for chest troubles. It has been found effective in treating asthma and cough as it facilitates expectoration.
  • As a rich source of iron, watercress is useful in the treatment of anemia. It is one of the best sources of iodine which is very important to correct the functioning of the thyroid gland.
  • A combined juice of watercress, spinach, carrot and turnip leaves is useful in dissolving the coagulated blood fibrin in piles
  • An emulsion made by soaking the seeds in water taken as a drink at frequent intervals to relieve hiccups.
  • A paste made of seeds and water can be applied in skin diseases caused by the impurities of blood. Bruised seeds, mixed with lime juice and spread on linen, can be applied with beneficial results in case of internal inflammation and rheumatic pains. The seed is also effective as a rubefacient – a pain relieving ointment.
  • Watercress is very useful during pregnancy and lactation. It increases the secretion of milk in nursing mothers.

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