Garden cress is a well-known herb in folklore remedies. Here we discuss the various Ayurvedic uses, benefits, dosage, side effects, and applications of garden cress.
This herb has been used medicinally since time immemorial even though well known classical Ayurvedic medical texts like the Charaka Samhita don’t mention it.
However, the herb eventually gained popularity through an Ayurvedic medical text called the Bhav Prakash where it had been mentioned for the first time in the context of Ayurveda.
Since Bhav Prakash, newer Ayurvedic medical literature has always mentioned garden cress along with its various benefits and uses.
Garden cress is also known by other names in different regions throughout the world. Some of its names include garden pepper cress, peppergrass, pepperwort or poor man’s pepper.
The botanical name of garden cress is Lepidium sativum. It belongs to family Cruciferae.
The leaves of this plant have been used for salads in different cuisines throughout the world. Garden cress leaves are also used for making curry in some cuisines.
Its leaves are also used for garnishing. This plant is even given as feed to horses and camels.
This plant is widely cultivated in various regions in India, Europe, and the United States.
Garden cress is known as chandrashura in Sanskrit. Chandrashurais a Sanskrit word. The literal meaning of this word is that which makes people happy by providing strength, immunity, and nutrition.
It also means that which can eradicate Vata dosha disorders. Its literal translation means that which is brave like the moon.1
Lepidium sativum is a fast-growing, annual herb. It is an erect herb which can grow between 6 inches (15 cm) to 23 inches (approximately 60 cm) in height. This plant has many branches on its upper areas.
The leaves are entire or pinnately dissected. The leaves are variously lobed with linear segments.
The flowers are white or pale pink in color. Flowers have broad and elliptical or ovate pods which are emarginate at the apex and are winged.
Seeds are small, smooth, oval-shaped, pointed and triangular at one end. The seeds are reddish-brown in color.
Seeds when soaked in water, then seed coat swells and gets covered with a transparent and colorless mucilage.
Rasa (taste):Katu(pungent) and tikta(bitter).
Vipaka(taste conversion after digestion):Katu
Guna (qualities):Laghu(light), rooksha(dry), and teekshna(sharp and piercing in nature).
The seeds of chandrashuraor garden cress have snigdha(oily) and picchila(slimy qualities).
Effect of garden cress on three doshas 2
Chandrashuraor garden cress is Vata dosha and Kapha dosha shamakdue to its ushna (hot potency), which means that it pacifies excessive Vata dosha and Kapha dosha.This is why it is used in various Kapha and Vata related disorders.
Dosage:1 to 3 grams of garden cress is used.3
Ayurvedic Formulations Containing Garden Cress (Chandrashura): Chatur beej churna.3This is an Ayurvedic formulation made with powdered garden cress seeds.
Lepidium sativum contains imidazole, lepidine, semilepidinoside A and B, β-carotenes, ascorbic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, sinapic acid, and sinapin. 4
Garden cress is found to contain significant amounts of iron, calcium and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C.
Phytochemical study of Lepidium sativum showed the presence of flavonoids, coumarins, sulfur glycosides, triterpenes, sterols, and various imidazole alkaloids.
The major secondary compounds of this plant are glucosinolates. The alkaloids of Lepidium sativum are a member of the rare imidazole alkaloids that are known as lepidine. 5
The seeds of Lepidium sativum contains 33–54% of carbohydrates, 25% protein, 14–24% lipids and 8% crude fiber.
The major abundant amino acids of seeds are aspartic and glutamic acids. Potassium is the most abundant mineral in Lepidium sativum.
The seeds of garden cress seed also contain 20–25% yellowish semi-drying oil. The major fatty acid of oil is alpha-linolenic acid (34.0%).
The oil also comprises polyunsaturated fatty acids (46.8%) and monounsaturated fatty acids (37.6%) and antioxidants, such as tocopherols and carotenoids.
Seven imidazole alkaloids, lepidine B, C, D, E, and F (dimeric), and two new monomeric alkaloids semilepidinoside A and B are also present in seeds of Lepidium sativum. 6
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before using garden cress for its above-mentioned benefits.
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