Habitat & Cultivation : Thriving in temperate regions worldwide, watercress flourishes in proximity to or within fresh running water. While it is often encountered in its natural habitat, watercress is also extensively cultivated as a salad herb. The optimal time for harvesting watercress is before it enters the flowering stage during the summer.
Parts Used : Aerial parts.
Constituents : Watercress is a rich source of isothiocyanates and is abundant in vitamins A, B, B6, C, and E, along with essential minerals such as iodine, iron, and phosphorus. Allyl isothiocyanate, found in watercress, exhibits broad-spectrum antibiotic activity. Studies conducted in the 1960s hinted at the possibility of watercress possessing anti-tumor properties.
History & Folklore : Watercress holds a longstanding significance as both a food and medicinal plant. Xenophon, a Greek general from the 5th century BCE, ascribed additional virtues to it, advising the Persians to incorporate watercress into their children’s diet for strength-building. In European folk medicine, watercress has been traditionally regarded as a “blood-cleanser” and was historically employed as a spring tonic.
Medicinal Actions & Uses : Watercress offers highly digestible and excellent nutrition. Its elevated levels of minerals and vitamin C make it especially well-suited for individuals dealing with chronic illness and during the convalescent period. It is believed to have appetite-stimulating properties, aid in easing indigestion, and counteracting catarrh. As a detoxifying herb and food, watercress is recognized for its ability to cleanse the liver, blood, kidneys, and lungs.