Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

Other common names: Tall nasturtium, wasserkresse

*Not to be confused with Tropaeolum majus, aka Indian cress, or “garden nasturtium.”

The following information may not be re-posted, copied or published without my permission and appropriate credit given. Please contact me via email (listed on the About page) if you wish to re-publish any of the information on my blog.

Family: Brassicaceae

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Appetite stimulant, cholagogue, nutritive, uterine stimulant, abortifacient, antioxidant, expectorant, diuretic, anticarcinogenic, stomachic, digestive tonic, bitter, antimicrobial, aphrodisiac.


If harvesting for culinary purposes, take the foliage before the plant produces its first flowers (to avoid a bitter taste). Medicinally, bitters are valued, and the plant can be harvested just as the flowers begin to open.

Part used: Aerial parts

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Volatile oils, bitters, sulphur, iron, phosphates, potash, B vitamins, vitamin C and A, folic acid, iodine and others.


Lack of appetite, hair loss, liver/gallbladder health, loss of libido, anemia, nutritional deficiency, respiratory infections, coughs, indigestion, excess phlegm, fluid retention, lung cancer support/prevention (talk to a doctor before use if you are undergoing treatments), eczema, rashes, and other skin conditions.

Medicinal preparations:


The aerial parts of this plant can be eaten in food, or used in internal preparations, such as tea infusions, capsules, tinctures and extracts.


The infusion of watercress can be used in a wash, poultice, or salve for skin conditions. It also can help when applied topically to inflamed joints.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Do not use if pregnant or nursing. Do not administer to children under 12 without a doctor’s guidance, and do not use if you suffer from peptic or duodenal ulcers. Consult with a doctor before use if you have an underlying liver or kidney disease, or gallstones/kidney stones. Large doses, or extended long-term use may be hard on the kidneys, and can cause digestive upset.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

While not widely known for this nowadays, watercress was once primarily known as an aphrodisiac, associating it with passion and sexual prowess. Arabian royals would use it in order to help them meet the needs of their harem. The ancient Greeks also used it to clear the mind and improve the intellectual acuity. It was also known to prevent baldness.

Watercress has a hot, dry, spicy constitution.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.


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