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Watercress Herb Health Benefits

Watercress is a perennial herb belonging to the family of Brassicaceae. Watercress is an excellent source of the antioxidants vitamins A and C, as well as vitamin K, an essential micronutrient for bone health.

 

It is also a rich natural source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid nutrients that are gaining attention for their ability to protect vision and support cardiovascular health.

 

The fresh, tender leaves of watercress have to be harvested just before flowering, because after flowering they become bitter and are no longer good to eat.

 

Just as many other herbs, watercress is rich in anti-oxidants.

 

Anti-oxidant substances help prevent or fight the damage caused by free radicals to body tissues, thereby contributing to prevent premature aging, as well as lower the risk of developing cancer and many other chronic or degenerative diseases.

 

Watercress does improve digestive function, due to its high content in vitamin C and fiber, which stimulate salivary and gastric secretions and the motility of the intestinal tract respectively.

 

It is also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamine and pantothenic acid that are essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.

 

Other uses include treating baldness, constipation, parasitic worms, cancer, goitre, polyps, scurvy, and tuberculosis.

 

Watercress is also used to improve appetite and digestion, to enhance sexual arousal, to kill germs, and as a “spring tonic.” Women sometimes use it to cause an abortion.

 

Watercress has a delightfully peppery aroma, which is a good foil for smoked fish.

 

There’s a stack of good nutrition packed in this watery plant, especially if you eat it raw. As an anti-inflammatory, watercress is useful for treating eczema, acne and other skin irritations, and generally contributes to healthy skin.

 

It’s also considered a liver tonic and was used by Greek and Persian soldiers to increase stamina and improve health.

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