Medicinal plants

Bitter bittercress – Use & Treatment for Health

Bitter bittercress

Bitter bittercress , also known as false watercress . It is a wild herb with a wide range of uses and effects. It is also used in a variety of ways as a medicinal plant.

Occurrence & cultivation of bitter bittercress

Bitter bittercress belongs to the cruciferous family and is a perennial plant. The plant is between four and two feet tall and has an angular, woody stem. The leaves sprout from the root and form near the ground. The stems, which can also grow through the winter, are also overgrown with leaves, which usually settle on smaller stems. The leaflets do not form rosettes and have a rounded tip at the end.

The flowers, which bloom between April and July, are white and arranged in racemes. The four white petals have reddish stamens in the center. The seeds of the bitter bittercress develop from the pods of the faded petals. The parts of the plant are collected throughout the year. However, the leaves of the bitter bittercress are mainly used.

Bitter bittercress is native to Central Europe and Asia. It grows mainly in a humid environment. Ditches and slightly shaded creek beds offer cool, loamy and nutrient-rich soil. In montane surroundings there is an increased occurrence and the false watercress can be found especially in the Bavarian Forest.

Effect & Application

Bitter bittercress is rarely used in herbal medicine. When used as a natural remedy, it is mainly used for spring fatigue and metabolic weakness. It stimulates the organism and has a diuretic effect. The high proportion of vitamin C regulates a deficiency of this vitamin. For this reason, it was previously used to treat scurvy (a vitamin deficiency disease).

Other ingredients in bitter bittercress are mustard oil and bitter substances. Dried bittercress is drunk as a tea to stimulate digestion and metabolism. The dried leaves are poured over with hot, no longer boiling water. After a brewing time of up to fifteen minutes, the tea is strained and drunk. This application is very rare and not common.

Bitter bittercress leaves can be made into a tincture to treat rheumatism . The leaves are doused with alcohol and left in a sealed container for two weeks. The jar should be shaken from time to time. After the brewing time, the tincture is filtered and filled into dark bottles to protect the tincture from sunlight. Due to the mustard oil it contains, it is very effective against infections and inflammations , provided the freshly harvested leaves are used.

Bitter bittercress is also used in spring cures. The stimulating effect accelerates the metabolism and helps with detoxification. The main use of bitter bittercress is in game cooking and is comparable to the use of true watercress . The slightly bitter-tasting leaves are pleasantly spicy and slightly hot. Freshly collected, they are served as a salad in combination with other wild herbs.

If the leaves are finely chopped, they can be mixed with quark and eaten as a spread. The bittercress is added to bread as a spice. The leaves should be used sparingly, as too many at once will cause the taste to be too bitter. Due to the bitter aftertaste, bitter cress is also often known as bittercress . A bitter substance that mainly contributes to the taste has not yet been examined more closely.

Importance for health, treatment & prevention

Bitter bittercress is not very common in medicinal medicine. The resemblance to watercress is very high. For this reason, collectors should have sufficient knowledge and not equate the application entirely with that of watercress. Nevertheless, many teas contain the bitter bittercress in a small form. Cosmetic care products also contain a proportion of bittercress.

In combination with watercress it is found in hair care products and treatments. Due to the high content of vitamin C, it is mainly contained in teas, which have a preventive effect. If the bitter bittercress is taken in too high a dose, it can lead to slight stomach and intestinal problems in rare cases . It is not recommended for children under the age of four.

Due to the irritation of the gastric mucosa and the kidneys, the bitter bittercress should not be taken during pregnancy. The effect can lead to bleeding and, in the worst case, discharge. Due to the labor-stimulating effect, premature birth can occur. If leaves of the plant are collected, care must be taken to ensure that they are harvested from clean streams and graves. Picking the wild plant should be avoided in streams that are close to a sheep pasture. There is a risk of taking a liver fluke into the organism when taking it.

They should be consumed fresh, because after prolonged storage they lose vitamin C and wither very quickly. The bitter bittercress can usually be bought in dried form or as a component of spices. The plant and the leaves themselves are seldom offered for sale, since the transport is very expensive. In the case of treatment with bitter bittercress, sufficient information should be available and this should be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.