Watercress Herbs, a lesser-known but still popular herb, there is a plethora of information available about the best ways to use watercress. But first, let's take a look at some of the basic facts about this species of plant.
Watercress Herbs: The Basics
Watercress herbs can grow in a variety of climates, but the species is native to Europe and Central Asia. With that being said, they have also been brought to many other parts of the world, including the Americas and Australia. They are "cousins" of mustard and come from the cabbage family, and their full scientific name is nasturtium officinale.
These herbs grow close to the ground in large patches, with thin stems that end in circular, green leaves. Looking down at a patch of watercress, it may seem just like a sea of these green leaves! But in reality, each little plant has its own roots, though they are often grouped together for commercial purposes.
Throughout history, this little plant has had some large applications. Most notably, the most famous physician in the history of the world, Hippocrates, adored watercress for its application as both a food and a medicine. Aside from eating this plant, he also used it to treat the symptoms of a cold such as a cough and runny nose. Plus, it has certain properties that fight against nutrient deficiency diseases such as scurvy.
Today, we use watercress for many of the same purposes. While scurvy is much less common, millions of Americans each year experience cold and flu symptoms, which watercress is a perfect remedy for. Actually, recent studies have even expanded on these properties, and scientists are beginning to see watercress a possible cure for certain types of cancers when incorporated into a patient's diet.
Even if you don't like the taste of this herb, it can still be useful topically. Rubbing a leaf on your skin can reduce acne through this plant's antioxidant properties. There aren't many risks associated with the plant, so you should never hesitate to ingest it orally or topically.
Besides medicine, this herb is found in many foods. Epicurious even calls it a "supergreen" because of its nutritional and dietary benefits. Indeed, the plant contains many vitamins, like vitamins A, C, and E, that fend off illness and promote healthy eating.
The most popular way to incorporate watercress into a meal is through salad. It blends in well, both through taste and color, into the mixed greens that you can purchase at any supermarket. If you aren't a fan of salad, it's also a key ingredient in some soups, particularly ones that include potato as a main ingredient. You could also hide it in a sandwich, mix it into a dip, or eat it plain. The best thing about this plant is that it has a lot of benefits but not much taste, so you can really add it to anything your heart desires.
Purchasing watercress can sometimes be difficult. Another plant, upland cress, looks strikingly similar to the plant but has slightly different nutritional makeup. If you are stuck trying to figure out which plant to buy, watercress usually much thicker stems than upland cress. Even if you purchase the wrong herb, both have lots of health benefits and their taste is all but identical. Watch out once you bring your herb home; it's prone to decay quickly, so eat it as quickly as you can.
Do these benefits sound appealing to you? If so, try growing watercress in your own garden. It is a relatively simple herb to grow, and most commercial watercress is grown in small quantities anyway. Adding watercress to your garden is a simple way to create your own medicine and food without paying for expensive herbal treatments and making constant trips to the grocery store.
Purchase freshly harvested Watercress Seeds to begin growing these delicious herbs.