Watercress

What other names is Watercress known by?

Agriao, Berro, Berro di Agua, Berros, Brunnenkresse, Crescione di Fonte, Cresson, Cresson au Poulet, Cresson d'eau, Cresson de Fontaine, Cresson de Ruisseau, Cresson Officinal, Indian Cress, Jal-Halim, Mizu-Garashi, Nasilord, Nasturtii Herba, Nasturtium officinale, Oranda-Garashi, Radicula nasturtium, Rorippa nasturtium, Scurvy Grass, Sisymbrium nasturtium, Selada-Air, Tall Nasturtium, Wasserkresse, Waterkres.

What is Watercress?

Watercress is a plant. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

Watercress is used for swollen breathing passages in the lung, coughs, bronchitis, flu, and swine flu. Other uses include treating baldness, constipation, parasitic worms, cancer, goiter, polyps, scurvy, and tuberculosis. Watercress is also used to improve appetite and digestion, to enhance sexual arousal, to kill germs, and as a "Spring tonic." Women sometimes use it to cause an abortion.

Some people apply watercress directly to the skin for arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, earache, eczema, scabies, and warts.

In foods, watercress is widely used in leaf salads and as a culinary spice.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...



BY MOUTH: APPLIED TO THE SKIN: More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of watercress for these uses.

Quick GuideVitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

How does Watercress work?

Watercress may be able to fight bacteria. It can also increase the amount of urine produced by the body (diuretic).

Are there safety concerns?

Watercress seems safe for most people in food amounts and in medicinal amounts when used short-term. When used in large amounts or long-term, it can cause stomach upset or kidney problems.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: Watercress is UNSAFE for use as a medicine in children, especially in those younger than four years old.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Watercress is UNSAFE in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. It might start menstruation and cause a miscarriage. Not enough is known about the use of watercress during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Stomach or intestinal ulcers: Don't use watercress if you have stomach or intestinal ulcers.

Kidney disease: Don't use watercress if you have kidney disease.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Chlorzoxazone (Parafon Forte, Paraflex)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

The body breaks down chlorzoxazone (Parafon Forte, Paraflex) to get rid of it. Watercress might decrease how quickly the body breaks down chlorzoxazone (Parafon Forte, Paraflex). Taking watercress along with chlorzoxazone (Parafon Forte, Paraflex) might increase the effects and side effects of chlorzoxazone (Parafon Forte, Paraflex).



Lithium
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Watercress might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking watercress might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.



Warfarin (Coumadin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Watercress contains large amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. By helping the blood clot, watercress might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Dosing considerations for Watercress.

The appropriate dose of watercress depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for watercress. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011