Cooling, pungent and bitter- sweet, watercress is a natural diuretic helping to clear excess fluid from the body. It impacts the lungs, stomach, bladder and kidney systems in TCM and strengthens the Qi (or vital energy) in the body.
It also is helpful in not only cleansing the blood (which is ideal for the spring-time which is the season it naturally grows) but also for building the blood. Green foods in general are the same structure as a red blood cell just swapping out the centre iron molecule in blood for a magnesium molecule in green foods). This makes it an essential diet addition to anyone but in particular, menstruating women who lose blood on a regular basis.
Watercress also aids in circulation in the body getting rid of old stagnant blood (which can contribute to cramping, pain and irritability in general). It’s moistening for the lungs and throat so makes it a great addition for anyone with a sore dry throat or cough. It has anti-cancer properties and helps clear skin breakouts (as it cools, nourishes and classes all at the same time. Sign me up!).
It helps to stimulate bile formation and glandular secretions making it helpful for digestion and is a rich source of chlorophyll, suffer and calcium. Chlorophyll rich foods have the added perk of stabilizing blood sugar, so if you’re someone who struggles with sweet cravings, be sure to eat them daily!
Watercress is wonderful in juices and can be great to use in tea or eaten raw in salads, steamed or lightly cooked in soups. It’s an incredibly hearty plants and can be found in early spring and even grows in the winter if near flowing water sources.
Oh, and and one more perk of watercress - it helps with gas and bad breath. ‘nough said.
Caution - avoid eating raw if you run cold or struggle with loose bowel movements. And if you already have frequent urination, watercress can make it worse if consumed regularly.