Watercress as a Remedy for Scurvy

One of the oldest greens used by man not just as food but as a medicinal herb is watercress.  This aquatic herb, also commonly called as scurvy grass, has a reputation for treating a host of ailments including scurvy.

Scurvy, a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C, is characterized by paleness, spots on the skin especially on the legs and thighs, soft gums and bleeding of the mucus membrane.  People suffering from scurvy are also inclined to feel depressed and partially immobile.

Those with advanced scurvy might experience loss of teeth and open wounds.

It is a dreadful disease and to remedy it, ancient people used watercress or scurvy grass.   It was also used by sailors, not just as cure but also as prevention.

Watercress is rich in Vitamin C—richer in fact than the ascorbic acid an orange can give.  It is also full of mineral salts, vitamins A, B2, D and vitamin E which makes it a good anti-scorbutic.

Herbalist John Gerard has commended this herb as an excellent remedy for scurvy as early as 1636 and as a blood cleanser.  However, it was only in 1932 that scurvy has been directly and concretely linked to vitamin C deficiency which makes treating the disease easier.

Today, scurvy is not very common, but the value of watercress in treating other ailments and imbalances, even cancer, cannot be discounted.