Watercress (Dou Ban)

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.

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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.

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 poisonous marshwort Fool’s Cress is often mistaken for watercress, and the two plants can be found growing together. Marshwart 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. Native to Europe and Asia. It is semi-aquatic, thriving in water that is slightly alkaline. Frequently produced around the headwaters of chalk streams.

Watercress (Dou Ban)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.

Key Constituents:

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.

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

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

Fun fact!

Cleanses Toxins

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


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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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