Monday, October 13, 2008
Watercress is a member of the mustard family, which includes cabbage, kale, and broccoli. Watercress, common in Europe, North America, and lower South America, is an aquatic perennial that grows in regions that have small natural streams and limestone. The plants thrive when submerged in fresh running water, and there is no danger of winter-killing as long as the water does not freeze solid. Watercress grows in moist soil, usually along the banks of streams, and in recent years has been grown in greenhouses. Partial shade, moist soil, high humidity, and lime result in satisfactory growth. It is grown for its small, round, pungent leaves, which are eaten raw as salads or as garnishes, and as an ingredient in soups. Because of its flavor, watercress makes a tangy seasoning agent.
Benefits of Watercress
1. Watercress is a very alkaline food, and is most effective on a reducing diet.
2. Watercress is believed to be an effective diuretic that promotes urine flow, which helps in clearing toxins from the system. Moreover, it is said to help relieve excess water retention and edema, and some claim that it may help heart disease by relieving retained fluid. The herb is also thought to support good kidney function and ease urinary and bladder problems. Furthermore, many cultures have used Watercress to break up kidney or bladder stones.
3. Herbalists have used Watercress as a blood purifier with system cleansing properties that help to clear toxins from the body. Because of its high potassium content, it is strongly alkaline and, therefore, considered useful in treating acidity and purifying the blood. By cleansing the blood, Watercress has been useful in treating skin eruptions, eczema, acne,
rashes and other skin infections.
4. Watercress is considered a tonic for the liver. The herb has been used to promote bile production and flow, which not only supports liver function and ease gall bladder complaints, but it is also beneficial for the digestive system. The herb has been thought to alleviate indigestion and inhibit gas formation.
5. Watercress is loaded with nutrients and has been considered an overall tonic for good health. It has been used to ease the debility associated with chronic disease, to increase physical endurance (supporting the ancient soldiers' use of the herb), to enhance the body's immune system and to stimulate the body's rate of metabolism.
6. Watercress is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, which are vital to health,
because of its high vitamin C content, the herb is good for helping other imbalances relative to vitamin C deficiency.
7. The high iron content in Watercress is thought to be useful in cases of anemia.
8. In addition to its possible cancer fighting properties, watercress also appears to have vision preservation properties by helping to lower the risk of the most common cause of adult blindness.