The cress is an annual plant belonging to the family of crucifers. It is characterized mainly by being completely hairless, more or less branched, with leaves of the plant foot divided into segments that reach the vein which is in their midst. The stem leaves are losing strength and divide until it becomes quite narrow and entire margin. The flowers are small and white.
This plant is native to Egypt and Persia, and was introduced into Europe many years ago.
The nasturtium flowers between May and July. Harvesting for medicinal purposes mainly interested in the seeds, stems and leaves. It picked up right in the days before flowering, or when you have the flowers still open. It is a kind very easy to grow and rapid development; in spring can now begin to be collected two weeks after sowing.
It contains a glucoside called glicotropeolina on leaves and stems, which, by fermentation of the call benzyl mustard oil.
In terms of their properties, they can say they are very similar to watercress. Firstly, cress plant is considered an excellent antiscorbutic, the best way to use this virtue is by eating a salad. It also has very good properties as an appetizer, then excites the appetite. Finally, it is a good stomach tonic and has a mild diuretic effect. The seeds can be used as a culinary spice, giving a delicious flavor to dishes to which is added.
This plant was cultivated by the Egyptians in the time of the pharaohs and their virtues were highly appreciated by the physicians of classical antiquity. The story goes that the name nasturtium comes from its strong spicy flavor that, according ingested, can twist his nose slightly. Formerly, cress most highly regarded by his properties was the one who came from Babylon-priced according to what the writings are quoted quite high.
The cress is eaten like any other plant. According to the cuisine of each region can be prepared many salads made from the precious plant. The seeds can be used like mustard, usually in the form of poultice.
HABITAT: Persia and Egypt
FLOWERING: May, June and July
PART USED: Seeds, stems and leaves
CATALAN: Enciamet de caputxi
GALICIAN: Herba do esforzo
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