Pharmacy Header Image

Hashtags for this post, hashtags for this plant:

Instagram hashtags

Facebook hastags


Watercress, Nasturtium officinale

I love watercress, Nasturtium officinale. Its spicy, refined taste suits many dishes and it is packed with nutrients. Not too long ago, you could easily find this plant in the wild in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, these times has passed. That is a big loss, not only to our ecosystem, but also to us humans. After all, you can eat different parts of this plant from early spring to autumn.

Medicinal properties of watercress, Nasturtium officinale

Given the high nutrient content of watercress, it makes sense that this is an excellent plant to use against fatigue and to aid recovery from illness. This plant’s liver-supporting effect makes it extra suitable for this purpose, as well as for its use in cleansing cures and other conditions where a purifying effect comes in handy. Eczema and acne would be good examples. Less known is watercress’ preventive properties against a broad spectrum of cancers.

Magical properties of this water lover

Watercress is mentioned in a number of flying ointment recipes. Why is not entirely clear. More logical is its application as a protector of those who need to travel across water. In addition, you can employ this plant for divination purposes. It opens, among other things, one’s third eye and evokes prophetic dreams. As an aquatic plant, watercress is associated with the moon.

Botanical description Watercress, Nasturtium officinale

Watercress is a small, creeping, evergreen plant that grows in or right next to water. This plant grows up to 90 cm length or height. Its stem is hollow, succulent and it floats. Thin white fibrous roots effortlessly develop at the nodes.
Watercress’ glabrous leaves are odd-pinnate with five to thirteen ovate leaflets. They are dark green in colour, succulent and juicy. The top leaf is often cordate but can also be ovate.
Its white flowers are small, no more than 1 cm in diameter and grow in a dense raceme. They bloom from April to August. The theca are yellow. After flowering, the long, narrow silicles with two rows of seeds appear.

Interesting facts

Pick watercress only when the plant is growing in running water and away from livestock as it may harbour parasites in these cases.
Watercress was already used as a medicinal herb by Hippocrates – the guy who is responsible for the oath that our doctors still take.
The ancient Romans believed that watercress could cure mental illness.
Applying crushed watercress leaves helps against skin discolouration. In the past, people often used it to get rid of freckles.
Also known by its Latin name Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum

It's not allowed to copy content of this website

Become a member for free

and view hidden content

Watercress, Nasturtium officinale image