Watercress, Nasturtium officinale), water radish, water rocket, hedge mustard

Main Facts about Watercress

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale), water radish, water rocket, hedge mustard
Watercress is a rapidly growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plant with pale yellow to white blooms atop branching succulent stems and seedpods in spiral staircase formation. Leaves resemble feather. Bean-like fruit. Despite the Latin name, watercress is not particularly closely related to the flowers popularly known as nasturtiums

Using Watercress

Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, iodine, manganese, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and K. Weight for weight, it contains more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more folic acid than bananas. Can be used as a tonic to boost energy and immune stimulant. Since it is rich in vitamin C, Watercress was traditionally used to prevent scurvy. It is useful for diabetics as it helps get rid of excess sugar in the blood. A tisane is good as a diuretic and so good for obesity as it helps the body rid itself of excess water. Also a tisane can be used if you have a bronchial cough or cold. Watercress can help with respiratory illnesses as it is an expectorant, antibronchitic, antiviral, and a general tonic. It cannot help remove stones from the internal organs but it is a good preventative. Watercress aids the liver, helping it to stay healthy. Its juice can help with chronic skin issues. You can apply crushed leaves to remove any skin blemishes, canker sores, mouth blisters, acne, ringworm, rashes, but to get rid of pimples you should take the tisane internally. Helps lighten freckles and brown spots.

Watercress is a remedy for: Cold and flu

Cooking with Watercress

Seeds can be crushed and used as mustard. The leaves can be eaten raw, cooked or dried. They have a pungent flavor and are crisp. Wash and dry before eating to eliminate undesirable organisms from water environment. Watercress enhances nutrition in recipes while adding a unique, peppery flavor to foods.

How to grow Watercress

Almost always near water, thrives in marshes, bogs and water gardens. You can take any part of the plant, put it in a container of water and it will grow roots. Watercress needs to be harvested before the buds appear as the leaves turn bitter after flowering. It is a fast-growing plant that prefers partial shade. The herb seeds can be started indoors 6 weeks before the last expected frost and then transplanted outdoors. Place the containers with seeds in a tray of water and keep the water constantly supplied. Fluorescent lamps or growing lights are needed.