Garden cress is an herbaceous plant that belongs to the mustard family, probably native to Egypt and the Middle East, but is now found all over the world. Garden cress grows along roads, in the bogs, mountain meadows and gardens. It is part of human nutrition since ancient times. Garden cress remains a popular and widespread leaf vegetable in Europe, especially in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, England and France.
Garden Cress is added to soups, sandwiches and salads for its tangy taste.
Garden cress has erect, bluish-green, multi-branched stem that can reach 8 to 24 inches in height.
It is also eaten as sprouts, and the fresh or dried seed pods can be used as a peppery seasoning.
Basal leaves of garden cress are compound-lobed and equipped with long petioles. Leaves on the upper parts of the stem are usually pinnately lobed. Some varieties of garden cress have curly leaves.
In England, cut cress shoots are used in sandwiches with boiled eggs, mayonnaise and salt.
Garden cress produces white or light pink flowers arranged in multi-branched terminal clusters. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Apart from their distinctive peppery taste Garden Cress is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Garden cress blooms from June to August. Flowers attract insects which are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Scientific research states that vitamin C help to keep cardiovascular system healthy, so adding garden cress in your diet may be a smart thing to do if you’re trying to improve your cardiovascular health.
Fruit of garden cress is small pod filled with 2 seed.
Garden cress is amplified with vitamin K, another important nutrient which is supposed to play a main role in maintaining cardiovascular health.
Garden cress propagates via seed that starts to germinate 2 to 4 days after sowing. Garden cress can thrive on the soil of poor quality, but it requires regular watering for the successful growth.
Frequent Consumption of garden cress helps to encourage the mammary glands to start producing milk in lactating mothers.
Garden cress is fast-growing plant. Edible shoots can be harvested one or two weeks after planting.
Due to the high protein and iron contents of garden cress, it is ideally given post-partum to breastfeeding mothers.
Garden cress is rarely mixed with other types of plants because it emits strong odor that negatively affects growth of the nearby plants.
Garden Cress consists of considerable amount of Vitamin A that neutralizes free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.
Garden cress can be cultivated in the pots filled with water and minerals (hydroponics), or using only moist cotton wool or paper towels (which hold the plant upright).
Manganese supplements present in Garden cress are linked to reduce osteoporosis as well as osteoarthritis syndrome because it is an essential mineral which is proven to add to bone density and overall mineral density.
Garden cress is valuable source of vitamins K, C, A, B2 and B9 and minerals such as manganese, potassium, iron and magnesium.
Raw garden Cress consists of 0.276 mg of Manganese which is 12% of the daily recommended value.
Garden cress is mostly consumed as leafy vegetables. Stem and leaves has peppery, tangy flavor and they are often used for the preparation of salads, sandwiches and dishes made of cheese or eggs.
Vitamin B2 which is found sufficiently in Garden Cress can help in treating numerous nervous system problems like Alzheimer’s disease, numbness, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and anxiety, among others.
Seeds of garden cress are also edible, but they need to be cooked or roasted before consumption. Seeds of garden cress are excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids.
Raw Garden cress consists of 40 µg of vitamin B9 which is about 10% of the daily recommended value.
Garden cress should be consumed in moderation because it prevents absorption of iodine by thyroid gland and can induce hypothyroidism. It should be also avoided during the pregnancy because it stimulates uterine contractions and can induce abortion.
Garden cress consists of vitamin B6 which is required to create hemoglobin in the blood, that is transported by red blood cells throughout the body to help bring oxygen to cells and to mobilize iron.
Garden cress can regulate menstrual cycle, increase production of milk in breastfeeding women and improve libido. Seeds are used to purify blood, stimulate appetite, boost immune system and memory and in treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, sore throat, asthma and cough.
Seeds can be roasted or cooked before eating.
Garden cress completes its life cycle in one (annual) or two (biennial) years.
Garden cress is also used to treat inflammation, skin infections and acne, and it acts as a blood purifier, diuretic and expectorant.