Watercress is a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach up to 80 cm. High. The stems are ascending, somewhat fleshy, hollow, they are inserted in alternate leaves a deep green color. At the apex of the stem bouquets of white flowers appear. It is a plant that requires plenty of moisture, so it is not hard to find in streams and water sources not too chalky. It is native to Central and Western Europe and being an edible plant is not hard to find worldwide, in Spain is in the whole Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands.
Therapeutic use are the tops of the stems, to be collected before flowering, which occurs around the month of April. Once harvested, are dried in the shade and separated from other plants, as it is in this process when off a strong odor.
Watercress in medicine has been used since antiquity, although as there are several similar species is not known for sure which of them was that our ancestors used. The flavor of this plant is similar to mustard, although it is less strong to have a sweet aftertaste. Its Latin etymology come to mean something like "crooked nose", referring no doubt that if the watercress is very spicy, as often happens-makes a wry face.
In the composition of its aerial parts is a glycoside, the gluconasturtósido and a heart and a lot of vitamins like A, C, D and E, ascorbic acid being-or vitamin C-which is more quantity, hence its use to combat scurvy, a disease very common in ancient times was due to a dietary deficiency of vitamin C. It is indicated in any type of vitamin deficiency and is also an appetite stimulant, expectorant and slightly hypoglycemic.
As they take in salads, we must be careful to clean the grass before serving at the table, because its leaves often live in large numbers of parasites. Furthermore, it is more prudent to consume in moderation, because in large doses can cause gastric mucosal irritation and kidney.
Finally, the fresh juice is used to treat certain skin conditions like eczema and rashes.
Decoction. Boil and simmer for 3 minutes a handful of fresh leaves, filter the liquid, add orange juice, tomato, pineapple or lemon and drink throughout the day.
Gums. To strengthen the gums and salivation activate the leaves are chewed for a while, every day.
Ground fresh. It is the best way to consume it, in salads, alone or with other vegetables, but always in moderation.
For external use. The fresh juice of watercress, applied in the form of friction on the scalp and mixed with a little colony, prevents hair loss, although this application is also in question, as any other hair-restorer.
HABITAT: Streams and fountains
PART USED: Stem Sumidad
CASTILIAN: Mastuerzo de agua
CATALAN: Créixeus, creíxecs
BASQUE: Erreka belarr
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