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Watercress

Watercress


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Features

Watercress, whose scientific name is "Nasturtium officinalis", but is also called watercress, is a perennial herbaceous plant, which has a smooth and shiny appearance and has been known since ancient times as "the healing salad" .

The consumption of watercress leaves is characterized by being recommended only to those people who can boast of good health.

When the stems become erect, they can reach a height of half a meter, while the leaves are characterized by having entire or toothed margins.

The flowers of the watercress, on the other hand, are characterized by having a typical white color, gathered inside modest corymbs and are made up of four petals; flowering occurs during the period between April and August depending on the location that is considered.

Watercress has the particular characteristic of having to be eaten fresh, otherwise it loses all its beneficial properties.

The Persians used watercress as an ideal food for children, because they believed that the nutrients it contains were able to improve the development of children themselves.

The Romans, on the other hand, believed that watercress was an excellent aphrodisiac, which was able to transmit a good feeling of well-being to the entire body.


Cultivation

Watercress is commonly called "water", precisely due to the fact that it grows along ditches, streams or, in any case, in wooded areas characterized by a high level of humidity.

Until a few decades ago, this plant developed much more frequently, while nowadays water pollution is one of the main causes of its reduced spread.

As for the display, the plant must be placed mainly in a shady place, since the cress prefers humid places.

The multiplication of this plant takes place by spring sowing or by division of the tufts.

In most cases, cress is harvested between May and June and both leaves and flowers are used.

Watercress, once it has finished flowering, is no longer good to be consumed, as it becomes too acidic.


Active principles

Inside the watercress plant we can find sulphothiocyanic glycosides, iodine, mineral salts (especially iron), vitamin A, vitamin B1, B2 and C.


Property

The watercress plant is characterized by having several beneficial properties and is extremely widespread in the herbal and homeopathic field due to its considerable richness in vitamins and minerals and is often included in the purifying formulations and in the purifying treatments that are carried out in spring.

Watercress can also be eaten fresh, as a salad, in the company of dandelion and nettle.

Watercress has remarkable beneficial properties, such as cleansing, but also diuretic and stimulating properties.

It is a herb that is extremely rich in mineral salts and vitamins, which are very important for bone growth and is also frequently used for a beneficial effect on sight and for coagulation processes.

Watercress should not be consumed by all those who are affected by inflammation of the urinary tract, since it could also lead to an aggravation of the disease, while it is particularly recommended as a detoxifier from smoking.


Cress: Use

The watercress plant is frequently used for spring treatments, but also to treat chronic bronchial forms.

In the event that it is consumed raw, in certain subjects it could cause cystalgia, even if transitory, probably caused by the irritating action that is carried out by the sulphocyanic component.

After cooking, it should represent a perfectly tolerated food.

The presence of sulfothiocyanic glycosides could play a beneficial action on bronchial secretions: for example, the use of this plant was recommended, in particular, in all those chronic bronchial forms in which it was able to promote expectoration.

The watercress plant can also be assigned an excellent therapeutic role, especially as regards the treatment of microcytic hypochromic anemia.

This is an activity that has been verified in relation to the presence of iron and other minerals, such as zinc, copper and manganese.

Furthermore, it would also be able to carry out a hypoglycemic action, as well as having an inhibiting effect with regard to the development of experimental tumors.

For a very long time now, fresh watercress juice has been used to block hair loss and promote hair growth thanks to the hyperemizing action that is carried out on the scalp.

The watercress plant also has a dermatological use, especially as an excellent remedy to combat eczema.

The stimulating action that is carried out by this plant has been known since time immemorial, since Hippocrates already specified to use it as an expectorant.


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