The top benefits, nutritional values, Uses and storage of Cress

The top benefits, nutritional values, Uses and storage of Cress

The scientific name of the cress is Lepidium sativum, the plant is native to western Asia. It belongs to the mustard family. Cress is a fast-growing weedy plant that is often used in salads, garnishes, and seasonings. Cress is also known as garden cress and peppercress.

The health benefits of garden cress are

Fights Inflammation

Cress reduces the effect of free radicals in the body as it contains vitamin A in it. It also reduces the risk of inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Preventing Osteoporosis

Garden cress contains manganese which helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis syndrome. It also helps in increasing bone density and mineral density resulting in making our bones strong.

Protects the Nervous System

Cress contains vitamin B2 which helps in treating the symptoms of  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, numbness, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and anxiety, among others.

Pregnancy and Birth Defects

Cress contains vitamin B9 which reduces the risk of neural tube defects and other issues that occur during pregnancy. Thus, improving the chances of pregnant women to give birth to a healthy child.

Helps Treat Anemia

Cress contains vitamin B6 which reduces the chances of anemia and its symptoms.

Is Good for Vision and Health

Cress contains carotenoids and vitamin A which improves eye health and night vision. It also reduces the chance of eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

Helps in Improving the functioning of the Immune System

Vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin C is found in garden cress which improves the immune system, increases the production of white blood cells, stoops any types of penetration by virus or bacteria through mouth, lungs, throat, and nose and protects the body from any type of harmful bacterial activity.
Helps Maintain the Health of Heart as well as Arteries

Cress contains vitamin K and vitamin C which prevents the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries. It also maintains heart health by reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks by preventing an excess of calcium that is deposited in the walls of arteries.
Prevents Teeth Cavities and Ensures Healthy Gums

Cress contains gluconasturtiin which maintains oral health, prevents teeth loosening and accumulation of bacteria that develops on the teeth.
Is known to be beneficial against cancer

Gluconasturtiin not only maintains oral health but also reduces the risk of cancer. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are found in cress also fight cancer cells and stops their growth.

Beneficial in Treating Irregular Menstruation

Cress increases the production of estrogen in the body which helps in regulating the frequency of menstrual cycle among women. This all happens because it contains phytochemicals and vitamin K.
Helps in Milk Production

Cress increases milk production by stimulating mammary glands among breastfeeding mothers.

Helps in maintaining Digestive Health

Cress reduces the risk of constipation, dysentery, and diarrhea, therefore, maintaining digestive health.
  Memory Booster

  • Garden cress seeds contain arachidonic carboxylic acid and linoleic acids so it will function as a  memory booster.
  • Cress can be eaten at any time of day. It goes well with every food.

Ways to use garden cress

Garden cress can be used in a variety of ways

  • Leaves are mainly used in salads, sandwiches, and baby greens.
  • Garden cress is added to soups, sandwiches, and salads for its tangy flavor.
  • It is also consumed as sprouts, and the fresh or dried seed pods can be used as a peppery seasoning.
  • Cut cress shoots are commonly used in sandwiches with boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and salt in the United Kingdom.
  • Seeds can be roasted or cooked before eating.
  • Kheer made of garden cress seeds increases milk production and secretion in lactating mothers.

Uses of garden cress

  • Garden cress is good for one’s blood, treat a child’s cough, can stimulate sexual desire, diminish scars and freckles, and take care of diarrhea.
  • Garden cress is also used to treat inflammation, skin infections and acne, and it acts as a blood purifier, diuretic, and expectorant.
  • Seeds are given as a decoction or infusion in hiccup, dysentery, diarrhea, skin diseases and as a galactagogue.

How to buy and store garden cress

Always buy those garden cress which is refreshed, have green leaves, evenly greenish in color and have upright whitish stems. Do not buy those herbs which are discolored and uneven. Garden cress can be stored up to a week in a plastic container in the refrigerator.

 Nutritional Values of Garden Cress

Garden cress is a wonderful supply of vitamin B6, vitamins C, dietary fiber, iron, calcium, protein, vitamin A, B, and fat-soluble vitamin. The seeds of cress also are extremely wholesome and that they contain vitamin K, tocopherol, folic acid, calcium, linoleic fatty acids, iron, carotene and arachidic.

Season in which cress is available

Cress is available all year round

How to make Aliv Makhana Ladoo


Aliv / Halim / Haliv / Garden Cress seeds 1 cup

Fresh scraped coconut 2 cups

Crushed jaggery 1.5 cups (add more jaggery if you want ladoos sweeter)

Makhana 1 cup

Coconut water About a ½ cup (if available)

Cardamom (Elaichi) powder ½ tsp

Desi Ghee (Clarified Butter) 1 Tsp

Dry fruits as per choice

Salt a pinch (optional)


1. Mix Aliv seeds with Coconut water, scraped coconut and jaggery and keep for 3-4 hours

2. Dry roast Makhana till crispy and leave to cool. Once cool, grind into a coarse powder.

3. In a thick bottom pan, cook the mixture of Aliv on low flame stirring all the time

4. When the mixture starts drying, add ghee, cardamom powder, dry fruits, and mix.

5. Add a pinch of salt (optional)

6. Switch off the gas; add Makhana powder and mix. Leave the mixture to cool a bit.

7. When warm, roll bite size ladoo.

8. This can be a delicious mid-morning/ evening snack.


You can use desiccated coconut instead of fresh coconut. But the taste of ladoo will be a little different.

How to make aliv kheer


1/4 cup alive (Halim seeds\garden cress seeds)

1/2 cup jaggery

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

1 tbsp assorted dry fruits

Milk as per your taste


Soak alive in sufficient water(approximately 1 1/2 cup) for 3-4 hours. Aliv should get swollen.

After 3-4 hours, put these alive on medium flame and let it cook for 5-10 mins. Stir occasionally. The color will get a little denser.

Add jaggery and crushed dry fruits. Wait till jaggery gets incorporated completely.

Add cardamom powder and remove it from heat.

While Serving add milk as per taste to it.

This can be consumed without milk as well. In that case, reduce the jaggery amount.

Instead of adding dry fruits, Sunthawada can be added to this which increases its nutritional value even more.

Safety profile for using cress

 Excess intake of garden cress can cause suppression of thyroid.

 If you are suffering from any one of the diseases or has the following condition then consult your doctor before using garden cress

People suffering from frequent passage of water

Women who are pregnant

People who are sensitive or allergic to it can cause digestive difficulties.

Fun facts about garden cress
Basal leaves of garden cress are compound-lobed and equipped with long petioles. Leaves on the upper parts of the stem are usually pinnately lobed. Some varieties of garden cress have curly leaves.
Garden cress produces white or light pink flowers arranged in multi-branched terminal clusters. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Garden cress blooms from June to August. Flowers attract insects are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of garden cress is a small pod filled with 2 seed.
Garden cress propagates via seed that starts to germinate 2 to 4 days after sowing. Garden cress can thrive on the soil of poor quality, but it requires regular watering for the successful growth.
Garden cress is a fast-growing plant. Edible shoots can be harvested one or two weeks after planting.
Garden cress is rarely mixed with other types of plants because it emits strong odor that negatively affects the growth of the nearby plants.
Garden cress can be cultivated in pots filled with water and minerals (hydroponics), or using only moist cotton wool or paper towels (which hold the plant upright).
Garden cress is a valuable source of vitamin K, C, A, B2 and B9 and minerals such as manganese, potassium, iron, and magnesium.
Garden cress is mostly consumed as leafy vegetables. Stem and leaves have a peppery, tangy flavor and they are often used for the preparation of salads, sandwiches, and dishes made of cheese or eggs.
Seeds of garden cress are also edible, but they need to be cooked or roasted before consumption. Seeds of garden cress are an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids.
Garden cress should be consumed in moderation because it prevents the absorption of iodine by the thyroid gland and can induce hypothyroidism. It should be also avoided during the pregnancy because it stimulates uterine contractions and can induce abortion.
Garden cress can regulate the menstrual cycle, increase the production of milk in breastfeeding women and improve libido. Seeds are used to purify the blood, stimulate appetite, boost the immune system and memory and in the treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, sore throat, asthma, and cough.
Garden cress completes its life cycle in one (annual) or two (biennial) years.

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