Watercress (Dou Ban)

Botanical Name: Nasturtium officinale

Widely used as a leafy green in salads and sandwiches, watercress’s high nutritional value makes it a true “food as medicine” plant. It has superior cleansing and nourishing functions and it is a prime anabolic blood builder, restoring the blood both structurally and functionally.

Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – Unexpected Uses for Watercress

Below is an overview of watercress, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of watercress.

How to take FULL advantage of the healing powers of watercress...

Watercress (Dou Ban)

JOIN ME in an exploration of the healing herb, watercress (Dou Ban). Explore the benefits and applications of watercress, from Eastern and Western perspectives, and so much more!


Western Name: Watercress

Also Known As: N/A

Organs/Systems: Digestive, Respiratory, Cardiovascular, Skin

Key Actions: Stimulant, Antioxidant, Diuretic, Expectorant, Digestive, Depurative, Hypoglycemic, Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Anticancer, Anabolic Blood Builder

Medicinal Uses: Lung cancer, digestion, constipation, goiter, gout, rheumatism, colds, flu, immune enhancing, baldness, lowers blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, Alzheimer’s, cognitive function, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, builds blood, protects blood vessels, and prevents parasitic worms. Used externally for eczema, scabies, arthritis, earaches, and healing injuries.


Pin Yin: Dou Ban

Also Known As: Chinese Watercress

Meridians: Spleen, Lung, Stomach, Intestines, Liver

Key Actions: Promotes Qi, Blood, and Lactation, Supports the Liver and the Stomach, Clears Lung Heat, Expels Damp Phlegm

Medicinal Uses: Blood Deficiency with fatigue, pale face, and nails, anemia, thyroid deficiency, as well as mental or physical exhaustion, low painful digestion, diabetes, clears toxins, cleanses the lymphatic system, lung congestion, chronic and degenerative diseases, skin eruptions, scurvy, scrofula, urinary stones and gallstones, intestinal parasites, bronchitis, yellow-green copious phlegm, head congestion, colds, flu, cataracts, blurry vision, macular degeneration.

Basic Habitat / Botany:

Watercress is a member of the family Brassicaceae, along with mustard, radish, and wasabi. Hollow stems are floating and the leaves are pinnately compound. Small white and green flowers are produced in clusters. The plant marshwort or Fool’s Cress (Apium nodiflorum or Helosciadium nodiflorum) is often mistaken for watercress. The two plants can be found growing together. Marshwort may be distinguished by its hemlock-like white flowers, or its finely toothed and slightly pointed leaves that are much longer and paler than those of watercress. Cow’s cress or garden cress (Lepidium campesire) is also often mistaken for watercress, though cow’s cress is rooted in the soil and watercress is a semi-aquatic plant.

Native to Europe and Asia. It is semi-aquatic, thriving in water that is slightly alkaline. Frequently produced around the headwaters of chalk streams.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Stem, Leaf, Seeds for Oil

Flavors/Temps: Neutral

Caution: Considered safe

Key Constituents: Significant amounts of Iron, Calcium, Iodine, Manganese and Folic acid. Vitamins A, B6, C, and K, Omega-3 Fatty acids, Phosphorus, and Copper. DIM (diindolylmethane), Sulforaphane, Alpha-lipoic acid, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Zeaxanthin, Lutein

History/Folklore: Watercress is one of the oldest known leafy vegetables consumed by humans. The Romans used it as a staple in the diet of soldiers to help build strength and stamina. Unsuitable in dry form, watercress is eaten fresh. Therefore, it is rarely found in capsules or extract forms, fresh or powdered extract forms remain the preferred preparation as they contain the highest levels of active nutrients and antioxidants.

Watercress has been used since the time of Hippocrates as a stimulant and expectorant to treat coughs and bronchitis. It is said watercress was naturalized by Nicholas Messier in Germany in the 16th century. In the nineteenth century, it was brought to Canada and the United States where the climate was right and there were plenty of waterways for the plant to spread.

The high Vitamin C levels help the body absorb iron. Watercress is also high in vitamins K, A, and E. It also contains a host of key minerals used by the body to function and stay healthy. For this reason, it is considered a superfood. It is considered excellent for reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.

Studies have found that the compounds DIM (diindolylmethane) and sulforaphane help to prevent cancer and slow its progression. The compounds zeaxanthin and lutein, also found in watercress, belong to the carotenoid family and have been proven to help support eye health. These compounds protect the eye from blue light damage, cataracts, and macular degeneration.

The plant’s active principles are said to be at their best when the plant is in flower. The best way to prepare watercress is to juice it or eat it fresh in salads.

It is excellent at cleansing and nourishing all the body’s fluids as well as the endocrine system and it addresses both pituitary and thyroid deficiencies. It is a remedy for chronic and degenerative diseases and a dietary maintenance supplement.

Crushed watercress leaves can be applied as a poultice to treat gout and rheumatism.

The Chinese consider watercress a food for Nourishing the Lungs. It is popularly used in China to support skin health, counter thyroid deficiency, and help counter chronic physical and emotional fatigue.

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Did you know?

Remedy For Scurvy

Due to watercress’s high level of Vitamin C, it was historically recommended as a remedy for scurvy.


Natural Diuretic

Watercress is one of the natural food diuretics, similar to parsley and asparagus.

Fun fact!

Cleanses Toxins

Increased consumption of watercress helps cleanse the body of toxins and reduces water weight.

Take FULL advantage of Watercress (Dou Ban)!

Connecting Eastern and Western perspectives on HOW and WHY this herb works. Find out how to safely and effectively use this healing herb for treating conditions and for your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Find True Health. Explore uses, safety information, benefits, history, recipes, gardening tips, essential oil information, if it applies, and much, much more in this online course.

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ATTENTION: All material provided on this website is for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. Redistribution permitted with attribution. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Whole. Be Free.

ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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