This delicious and natural “super food” has been grown commercially in southern England and elsewhere since the early 1800s. It has a peppery, tangy flavor and is often added to salads or used as garnish.
During the westward exploration of the United States, Lewis and Clark found watercress in many of the water courses on their journey across the Louisiana Purchase, and the U.S. Army actually planted watercress in the gardens of forts along the western trails, as food for soldiers.
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a member of the Brassicaceae family, a group of plants well known for their health benefits. Along with watercress, this plant family includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, bok choy and turnips. The German Commission E recognizes watercress for treating respiratory congestion, especially cold-related runny nose and coughs.
The name Nasturtium comes from the Latin nasus tortus, meaning “twisted nose.” When eating watercress, you might notice that you can feel it in your nasal passages!
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