Medicinal plants

Watercress – Use & Treatment for Health

Real watercress

The perennial watercress plant with the creeping roots grows to about 50 cm and can also be harvested in winter. It therefore proves to be an optimal source of vitamins all year round. The real watercress blooms in the months of May to July, whereby the herb can be collected in May and June. Small fleshy leaves form on the stem of the plant, which are harvested from the flowering plants.

Occurrence and cultivation of watercress

Watercress belongs to the cruciferous family and has a fresh and slightly pungent taste. It comes from south-eastern Europe and western Asia and was very popular with the Greeks and Romans. Nowadays, watercress is distributed all over the world. The watercress prefers sunny to semi-shady locations and is found around streams, ponds and springs. It is therefore often referred to as watercress or watercress .

The watercress grows in clear and cold water. If it is grown in the garden, attention must be paid to the water supply. It is also important that clean spring water is always used to avoid pathogens in the watercress culture. It is best to dig a ditch and fill it with slowly flowing water. In order for the cress to be drained and the water level to be regulated, an inflow and outflow is required.

If you don’t want to put in the effort, you can also cultivate the watercress in moist and waterproof boxes to enable cultivation on the balcony or in a small garden. Sowing can take place in March. The water supply must always be taken care of.

Effect & Application

With its rounded, fleshy leaves, the watercress looks very juicy. This indicates its valuable property as a salad plant. A teaspoon full of fresh watercress juice can also be taken up to three times a day. This is done diluted with water. Watercress has a variety of uses in the kitchen. Soups and salads are often refined with watercress.

However, it is advisable to use it fresh, as watercress as a spice has almost no taste after drying or cooking. However, since the active ingredients are pungent and therefore irritation of the mucous membranes is possible, watercress should not be consumed every day, but it is advisable to take breaks. The fresh, aromatic and slightly pungent taste results from the bitter substances and the mustard oils. It is also often used to garnish sandwiches, to refine steaks, quark, spinach, potato dishes or egg dishes.

The advantage is that watercress is also a good source of vitamin C in late autumn and winter . It is also well suited for combining. A delicious sauce can be made with lemon, yoghurt and spices, for example. It is also ideal for decorating. Watercress should not be missing from a revitalizing spring cure. As a valuable source of vitamin C, it alleviates deficiency symptoms . Watercress is also used in cosmetics, for example in hair tonics to help with hair loss .

Natural cosmetics manufacturers use the plant in shampoos. This should strengthen and revitalize the scalp. At the same time, sebum production is regulated. In a facial cleansing gel, the ingredients of watercress refresh the skin. It is cleansed and cleared. You can easily make a quark mask yourself with the plant: cut the fresh watercress, mix with some cream and quark, apply to the skin and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water. This has a skin-clarifying and refreshing effect.

Importance for health, treatment & prevention

The real watercress is tried and tested as a medicinal plant. In ancient times it was considered a panacea and in the Middle Ages it was used in monastic medicine. When watercress is used for various medicinal purposes, it should be collected just before it blooms and then dried immediately. Since the watercress smells pungent, this should be done separately and not together with other plants. The same applies to storage. First and foremost, it stimulates the metabolism.

In the form of wild salads or herbal quark, watercress can reduce spring fatigue and remedy a vitamin deficiency. In addition, the plant is said to have blood-cleansing, antibacterial and expectorant properties. Watercress also has diuretic, appetizing and aphrodisiac properties .

It is also used for colds, coughs , sore throats and gum infections , kidney and bladder disorders , rheumatism , indigestion , itching and minor burns . The juice of the watercress refines the complexion and eliminates skin impurities such as pimples . Wrinkles are reduced, age spots and freckles are faded.

In the case of wrinkles, compresses with the juice are applied daily and covered with foil. The juice is made by squeezing the plant. A juicer can be used for this. If you don’t quite like the taste, you can add the juice of a carrot or tomato, for example. Furthermore, the herb of watercress is used to treat bronchitis . It loosens congestion in the airways.

However , it should not be used in the case of gastric or intestinal ulcers or inflammatory kidney diseases. The same applies to children younger than 4 years old. Since eating wild-growing watercress can cause illness, the watercress should always be washed thoroughly or, ideally, only cultivated watercress should be used.

Lisa Newlon
 | Website

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.