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Watercress is an aromatic plant little used in Italy, but very common in the rest of Europe and in Asia; produces jagged leaves, bright green, very aromatic. The essential oils contained in the watercress leaves are very volatile, so their benefits, and the slightly spicy flavor they give off, can only be appreciated using these fresh leaves. The leaves of watercress are in fact neither dried, nor frozen. The plant produces many seeds, which germinate with great ease, for this reason the watercress is one of the most used aromatic plants to produce sprouts, which are obtained in little more than a week. The leaves are consumed simply by cutting the necessary quantity at the base; these plants do not fear the cold very much, and generally they continue to sow, at intervals of 15-20 days, until the autumn, to obtain constantly a new crop of tender leaves.
This plant has been used for centuries in folk medicine, especially in Asia; the fresh foliage has tonic, diuretic and stimulating properties. Ayurvedic medicine also recommends its consumption to breastfeeding women, since this plant has galactogogic properties, that is it stimulates the production of breast milk.
The seeds, reduced to pulp, are used in tablets on painful limbs, due to bruises, rheumatism or hematomas.
The powdered root is also used in the watercress, which seems to help in cases of asthma.