Watercress is an aquatic plant that is native to Asia and Europe. This plant has dark green leaves which have a peppery taste. Considered to be one of the oldest plants consumed by humans, this green leafy vegetable is sometimes used instead of lettuce in salads and on sandwiches. It has been long recognized as a medicinal herb. It has been said that Hippocrates first used this plant around 400 B.C. to treat patients of various health ailments and conditions. Once you recognize the health benefits of this plant, you will want to keep some in your refrigerator. All parts of this plant including the seeds, leaves, flowers and stems can be used to treat many health ailments and conditions.
Our bodies need folic acid in order to have healthy cells. Expecting women need this acid to help prevent birth defects in their children. Since many leaf vegetables are high in folic acid, watercress is the way to go.
Watercress is rich in Vitamin A. We need this for optimal health, good vision, strong bones, strong teeth and youthful looking skin. Three and a half ounces of this vegetable gives you 64% of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of this vitamin.
Watercress is a major source of Vitamin C. We need this vitamin to boost our immune systems and help us fight the symptoms of colds, the flus and other illnesses. You get at least 72% of your RDA in this vitamin when you use this vegetable in place of iceberg lettuce in your salad. . Including this immune system boosting plant in your daily diet helps fight cold and flu symptoms and may even prevent you from getting sick.
Other vitamins found in watercress include:
When you have a daily diet that does not contain enough potassium, you run the risk of getting high blood pressure. Even if you have a healthy blood pressure, you want to be able to maintain it by eating food that is high in potassium. Since watercress provides you with 7% of your RDA in potassium, including it in your daily diet is a heart healthy choice for you. By including this in your daily diet, you lower the risk of getting heart disease since it also contains flavonoids known as anthocyanins.
Other essential minerals include:
Watercress is loaded with antioxidants. These play a role in removing free radical from your body. Free radicals cause cell damage which can lead to heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses. These antioxidants also contain anti-aging properties and helps protect your cells from damage as you age.
Watercress is considered to be a natural antibiotic because of its chemical content. It is fast acting in fighting microbial organisms, even ones that are resistant to antibiotics. Since it is a gentle antibiotic, the chances of you suffering from side effects such as ones that come with chemically made medications are low.
Watercress contains astringent properties which are useful towards many skin conditions including acne, eczema, rash and bug bites. All you need to do is rub the oil from the leaves onto the affected area of the skin. Not only will it speed up the healing time, it will prevent the skin from getting infected. The anti-inflammatory properties will ease the pain and reduce the swelling from these conditions.
Watercress contains expectorant properties. This plant helps with respiratory problems such as
To make an excellent cold/Flu fighting tea, put a tablespoon of crushed leaves in a cup and pout hot water over them. Allow the tea to brew for at least ten minutes before drinking. The properties of this plant help relieve congestion in your lungs and other airways. The pain fighting properties help sooth sore throat pain. Since this plant is also an excellent diuretic, this tea will help remove toxins from your urinary tract system and help fight the bacteria that causes bladder infections.
You can easily grow watercress in your garden or window boxes. However, if you do not have the time to grow your own, you can easily find it in the produce section of your grocery store. You can also find a wide variety of products including:
at your local pharmacy, health food store or online at sits such as EBay and Amazon.
Some side effects from consuming watercress include upset stomach and diarrhea. Other than that, it is a safe plant to include in your daily diet. However, when this plant is used to treat skin conditions, it may cause irritation to your skin. Before you use this plant or lotions that contain oils from this plant, test a small area of your skin. If you skin becomes red or begins to itch, do not use it.
If you have kidney problems, avoid watercress.
If you are pregnant or nursing, avoid watercress.
If you have thyroid problems, avoid eating watercress. The high amount of iodine found in this plant may cause your condition to worsen.
While watercress can be easily found near streams, creeks and rivers, use caution if you are planning to collect this plant from the wild. Some poisonous plants can be easily confused with this healthy one.
Always talk to your doctor before you use watercress to treat your health ailments or conditions. This plant can interact with other medications and supplements that you may be already talking.