Do Not Eat Wild Watercress

Wild watercress can be eaten, yes.  But it is not advisable.  Not when the cleanliness of the water where it is growing cannot be verified.

Although there’s quite a lot of this herb proliferating in the wild, the current state of the environment cannot be trusted especially when this peppery herb is found growing near an industrial site.

The water might be holding bacteria which can affect the watercress and ultimately affecting humans who will be eating it.

What’s more scary is liver fluke, a parasitic flatworm known to be carried by freshwater snails, deer, pigs, wild boar and cattle, but most especially sheep (Fasciola Hepatica).

The eggs of this parasite can be harbored by watercress which when eaten by sheep can infect it and pass it back to the watercress through its droppings.  It later on encysts in the watercress where it usually attach itself.

When eaten by humans, it can also cause trouble.  Adult flukes live in the bile ducts or the livers of its host and can cause extreme abdominal pains.  Take note as well that this infection is very hard to treat.

This is the reason why gathering watercress for cooking is not recommended.  However, when it is absolutely necessary to do so, just carefully pinch the tops of the plant—the part that has not touched the water.

The watercress must also be thoroughly washed and cooked well to kill the bacteria and lessen the dangers of eating it.  Never eat watercress raw when picked in areas with unknown water source.


One Response to “Do Not Eat Wild Watercress”

  1. colin says:

    i have introduced watercress plants into the area of my mountain spring which supplies water for my house in italy, it is not well known in my area by the Italians, i love its flavour, i have just taken my first cut and made an egg salad for my Italian friends, some were very wary to eat this strange plant but most have liked its peppery flavour, and after showing them a document about its many medical properties it is now the idea to enlarge the watercress bed. my water has been controlled by the authorities and has been given the highest grade.