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.
Below is an overview of watercress, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of watercress.
Western Name: Watercress
Also Known As: N/A
Organs/Systems: Digestion, Lungs, Intestine, Skin
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Stimulant, Antioxidant, Diuretic, Expectorant, Digestive, Depurative, Hypoglycemic. Widely believed to help defend against lung cancer. Aids digestion. Helps with constipation, goiter, baldness, and parasitic worms. Used externally for eczema, scabies, arthritis and earaches.
Pin Yin: Dou Ban
Also Known As: Chinese Watercress
Meridians: Spleen, Lung, Stomach, Intestines
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Promote Qi, Blood and Lactation: blood deficiency with fatigue, pale face and nails, anemia, thyroid deficiency, as well as mental or physical exhaustion. Support Liver and Stomach: slow painful digestion, diabetes. Clears Toxins: lymph, congestion, skin eruptions, scurvy, scrofula, urinary and gallstones, intestinal parasites. Clears Lung Heat/Expels Damp Phlegm: bronchitis, white copious phlegm, head congestion, colds.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Stems, Leaves.
Flavors/Temps: Pungent, Slightly Bitter, Cool, Dry.
Caution: None noted.
History/Folklore: One of the oldest known leafy vegetables consumed by humans. Watercress is eaten fresh as it is unsuitable in dry form. Therefore, it is rarely found in capsules or extracts. Used since the time of Hippocrates as a stimulant and expectorant to treat coughs and bronchitis. The high Vitamin C levels help the body absorb iron. The plant’s active principals 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 as well as a dietary maintenance supplement. The Chinese consider watercress a food for nourishing the lungs.
Significant amounts of iron, calcium, iodine, manganese and folic acid. Vitamins A, B6, C, and K. Also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, and copper.
Remedy For Scurvy
Due to watercress’s high level of Vitamin C, it was historically recommended as a remedy for scurvy.
It is one of the natural food diuretics, similar to parsley and asparagus.
Increased consumption helps cleanse the body of toxins and reduces water weight.
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