It isn't the sexiest cough cure around.
It's not even exotic. It's just a plain vegetable.
But today I shall praises of the humble watercress because it is a well-known cure for the sort of incurable, annoying and keep-you-awake-at-night coughing sessions.
So what's in the watercress?
In the West, it is commonly eaten fresh and raw in a salad or sandwich.
Here in Malaysia, I've always eaten this cooked in soups. Never raw.
So what's so fascinating about watercress?
- Watercress' botanical name is Nasturtium officinale.
- It is a fast grower in aquatic or semi-aquatic environments. It usually grows in ditches rapidly.
- It is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables eaten by humans.
- The plant is native to Europe and Asia.
- It has a peppery flavour and is related to the cabbage and mustard family.
- The town of Alresford, near Winchester, UK holds a Watercress Festival that brings in more than 15,000 visitors every year. Alabama in the US is considered the Watercress Capital of the World.
- Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, iodine, manganese, folic acid, vitamins A, B6, C, and K.
- Its high Vitamin C makes it a good remedy for scurvy. It is also a significant source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
- It is believed to help with lung cancer.
- It has more calcium than milk and more Vitamin C than orange.
- Raw watercress may have greater cancer-fighting power than cooked watercress, as cooking inactivates the myrosinase enzyme that is responsible for hydrolyzing glucosinolates to beneficial isothiocyanates (says this article).
|Watercress is a cheap and plentiful vegetable sold in most wet markets across Penang.|
I've often found that watercress or any vegetable or herb usually is a much better cure for ailments and illnesses compared to medicines or cough syrups or cough tablets.
I also believe that eating something green, natural and healthy like watercress is a more positive method to combat coughs.
In Cantonese, watercress is known as "sai yeung choi" which I believe translates loosely to Western vegetable.
There is a "Sai Yeung Choi Road" in Hong Kong and yes I have walked down this street before, but I didn't see anyone selling watercress!
I guess I am a big believer in Mother Nature. If you'd like a watercress soup recipe, try this.
If you don't take pork, substitute with chicken. It still tastes good.
If you want a vegan version of watercress soup, I have one just for you too.
For more research or studies using watercress, considered a super food, check out http://www.watercress.com/watercressresearch.aspx
For raw watercress recipes, check out Martha Stewart's recipes.