Botanical name:
Nasturtium Officinale, Nasturtium Aquatic

Watercress, tall nasturtium (English), echte brunnenkresse, brunnenkressenkraut, wasserkresse (German), cresson, cresson de fontaine, herb aux chantes (French).

Watercress is related to the cruciferae and originates in Europe, but it can also be found in many places in North America and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by human beings. Watercress grows along waterways and marshes. The plant has long, angular, stems, with conspicuous, dark green leaves; flowering season is from May to September.

Active Iingredients:
Essential oil (rafanol), vitamins A, C, E, D and B1, B2, B6, K, carotene, minerals ( iron, magnesium, manganese, sulphur, zinc, and potassium, iodine), and bitters. Watercress has thiocyanateglycosides, mustard oil glycosides (glucosinolates), specifically gluconasturtiin, which can be hydrolyzed to 2- phenethyl isothiocyanate.

Fresh Watercress contains: Water 95.1%; Protein 2.3%; Total lipid (fat) 0.1%; Carbohydrate, by difference 1.3%; Fiber, total dietary 1.5%; Ash 1.2%. Minerals: Calcium, 120mg/100g; Iron, .20mg/100g; Magnesium, 21 mg/100g; Phosphorus, 60 mg/100g; Potassium, 330 mg/100g; Sodium, 41 mg/100g; Zinc, 0.11 mg/100g; Copper, 0.077 mg/100g; Manganese, 0.244 mg/100g; Selenium, Se 0.9 mcg/100g; Vitamin A, 4700 IU, Vitamin A, RE 470mcg; Vitamin C, 43.0 mg/100g; Thiamin 0.09 mg/100g; Riboflavin 0.12 mg/100g; Niacin 0.2 mg/100g; Pantothenic acid 0.3 mg/100g; Vitamin B-6 0.13 mg/100g; Folate, 9 mcg/100g;; fatty acids; and amino acids.

Beneficial Qualities:
  • An excellent source of phytochemicals and antioxidants
  • Exceptional general stimulant for the spleen, liver, gall-bladder, and kidneys
  • Stimulates the excretion of urine (diuretic)
  • Encourages the loosening and removal of phlegm (expectorant)
  • Cleanses and purifies the blood (depurative)
  • Improves blood quality
  • Improves absorption and transport of oxygen
  • Strengthens the stomach (stomachic)
  • Increases natural immune resistance (immunostimulant)
  • Encourages digestion (digestive, herbal bitter)
  • Stimulant and restorative for the kidneys
  • Stimulates excretion of gall (cholagogue)
  • Lowers blood sugar level (antidiabetic)
  • Detoxificant and tonic
  • Functional beneficial for sufferers of hypothyroidism
  • A single 4 ounce bunch has more than a full day's RDA of Potassium


Historically or traditionally known to support the body's function and physiology in dealing with:

  • General weakness of infirmity, fatigue, recovery from illness
  • Mild anemia
  • Chest disorders, cough, tightness of chest, excess phlegm, inflammation of bronchial tract
  • Functionally lowers uric acid in gout, rheumatism
  • Reduces edemas
  • Gentile soothing effect on problematic digestion
  • Reduces susceptibility to infections diabetes
  • Eases skin disorders such as rash, eczema,
  • Due to its high iodine content, it has a strengthening effect on the thyroid gland,

Side Effects:
In rare cases, gastrointestinal upsets. Excessive or extended use of the fresh plant may cause light stomach cramps

Watercress, a peppery herb, is contraindicated in cases of gastrointestinal ulcers and inflammatory disorders of the kidneys. Watercress is also contraindicated as a medicine for children less than 4 years of age.

Watercress juice is often part of a good cleansing routine. It is extremely nutritious with alkalizing minerals. Watercress is used in several areas of the world as a natural medicine, with various applications, amongst others.

Watercress is an abundant source of sun given chlorophyll, rich in vitamins A and C, and both major and trace minerals, including iodine. It has been traditionally a detoxifier and a wonderful restorative. Watercress contains gram for gram more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more folate than bananas. Watercress is a better source of vitamins C, B1, B6, K, E, Iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and potassium than apples, broccoli, and tomatoes.

The first attempts at commercial cultivation are reported to have been made in the 16th century at Erfurt in Germany. Watercress are extremely fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plants native from Europe to central Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by human beings. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is thought to have decided on the location for his first hospital because of its proximity to a stream so he could use only the freshest watercress to treat his patients Watercress is brimming with over 15 vitamins and minerals.

Do not confuse Nasturtium officinale with Nasturtium microphylla, formerly Rorippa microphylla, also called (one-row) watercress, which is a noxious weed restricted in some states (as is true watercress), and is not as valuable either nutritionally or medicinally. Unharvested, watercress can grow to a height of 50–120cm. Also sold as sprouts, the edible shoots are harvested days after germination. Like many plants in this family, the foliage of watercress becomes bitter when the plants begin producing flowers.

Watercress is the most ancient of green vegetables known to man and its use can be traced back to the Persians, Greeks and Romans. The ancient Greek General Xenophon of Athens was a historian, soldier, mercenary, and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates. He was famous for making his soldiers eat watercress before going into battle to increase their vigor and stamina.