By: Nutrition expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.
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Garden cress (Lepidium sativum L.) belonging to Cruciferae family is widely grown in India, Europe, and United States. It has been used as an important medicinal plant since the Vedic era. Its seed, oil, and powder contain significant amount of protein, fat, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals, which are incorporated in many functional beverages and foods.
Garden cress seed (GCS) possesses several of pharmacological properties like anti-anemic, antioxidant, galactogogues, etc. and has tremendous potential for the development of functional food by fortification with it (1), (2).
Health benefits of Garden cress seeds:
- Nutritional powerhouse
Garden cress has significant amounts of iron, calcium, folic acid, and vitamins A, E, and C. Garden cress seeds are loaded with not just protein, but also linoleic and arachidonic fatty acids (3).
- As an Emenagogue and galactogogues
Cress is said to help regulate the menstrual cycle, and cress seeds help increase milk production and secretion in lactating mothers. Because of its high iron and protein content, it is good for post-partum and lactating mothers (3).
- Prevents asthma
Garden cress seeds have been found to decrease the severity of symptoms of asthma and improvement in lung function parameters (4), (5).
- Improves hemoglobin
Garden cress seeds are the richest source of non-heme iron (iron found in hemoglobin, which is an easily absorbed dietary iron.) Help to increase the hemoglobin levels. When taken regularly, it help to alleviate Anaemia (6).
Garden cress seed mucilage is extensively used in many traditional medicinal arrangements such as cough syrups. It also has anti-hyperglycemic properties which help to control glucose level in diabetics (7), (8).
- Laxative effect:
These seeds have been shown to be effective for the treatment of indigestion and constipation; because of its pro-kinetic and laxative activities (9).
- Memory booster:
Garden cress seeds are considered as a memory booster due to the presence of arachidic and linoleic acids (10).
- Good for skin and hair:
Garden cress seeds can be blended with water and honey to form a thick paste that can be applied on the skin to treat sunburn, irritated skins, dry skin and broken lips. Garden cress is an excellent source of protein and iron thus can be used for treating people suffering from hair loss (11).
How to consume?
- Seeds can be roasted or cooked before eating.
- Kheer and Laddoo made of garden cress seeds increases milk production and secretion in lactating mothers.