English Common Name: Waterparsnip
Arabic Name: قرّة
Apium nodiflorum, commonly called Fool's-water-cress, is a flowering plant found in all regions of the world in ditches or streams, and it has short-stalked umbels of very small white 5-petalled flowers. The edible portions of the plant are the leaves which can be eaten raw or cooked. The seeds can be sprouted and eaten in salads, they can also be ground and used, as in mustard. Watercress is very rich in vitamins and minerals, and has long been valued as a food and medicinal plant. Considered a cleansing herb, its high content of vitamin C and E makes it a remedy that is particularly valuable for chronic illnesses. 100 grams of fresh watercress leaves contains 43 mg of vitamin C and 34 mg of R-tocopherol. The freshly pressed juice has long been used internally and externally in the treatment of chest and kidney complaints, chronic irritations and inflammations of the skin. Applied externally, it has a long-standing reputation as an effective hair tonic, helping to promote the growth of thick hair. A poultice of the leaves is said to be an effective treatment for healing glandular tumors or lymphatic swellings. Some caution is advised though as excessive use of the plant can lead to stomach upsets. Moreover, the plant has been used as part of the treatment of tuberculosis. Histamine release inhibitors in watercress were isolated and the compounds flavonols and megastigmanes were found to significantly inhibited histamine release.
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