Tag Archives: University of Southampton

Watercress

Botanical Name :Nasturtium officinale
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Nasturtium
Species: N. officinale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms:  Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum – (L.)Hayek., Sisymbrium nasturtium-aquaticum – L.

Common Name :Watercress

Habitat : Watercress is native to Europe and Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. It is a member of the family Brassicaceae, botanically related to garden cress, mustard and radish — all noteworthy for a peppery, tangy flavour.

Description:
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
 Click to see the pictures..>…...(01)..(1)....(2).…...(3).…..(4)……..(5).....(6).…...(7)…..
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

In some regions, watercress is regarded as a weed, in other regions as an aquatic vegetable or herb. Watercress has been grown in many locations around the world.

Cultivation :
Watercress is easily grown when given the correct conditions of slowly flowing clean water, preferably coming from chalky or limestone soils. It prefers to grow in water about 5cm deep with an optimum pH 7.2. Plants can be grown in wet soil if the position is somewhat shaded and protection is given in winter, though the flavour may be hotter. Hardy to about -15°c. Watercress is often cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties. The plant is very sensitive to pollution so a clean source of water is required. Plants will often continue to grow all through mild winters. A fast-growing plant, the stems trail along the ground or float in water and produce new roots at the leaf nodes, thus making the plant very easy to propagate vegetatively. Unfortunately, virus diseases have become more common in cultivated plants and so most propagation is carried out by seed. This is a diploid species. It has hybridised naturally in the wild with the triploid species N. microphyllum to produce the sterile hybrid N. x sterilis which is also commonly cultivated as a salad crop. The flowers are a rich source of pollen and so are very attractive to bees.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a pot emmersed to half its depth in water. Germination should take place within a couple of weeks. Prick out seedlings into individual pots whilst they are still small and increase the depth of water gradually until they are submerged. Plant out into a pond in the summer. Cuttings can be taken at any time in the growing season. Virtually any part of the plant, including a single leaf, will form roots if detached from the parent plant. Just put it in a container of water until the roots are well formed and then plant out in shallow water.

Edible Uses.
Leaves – raw or cooked. Water cress is mainly used as a garnish or as an addition to salads, the flavour is strong with a characteristic hotness. It has a reputation as a spring tonic, and this is its main season of use, though it can be harvested for most of the year and can give 10 pickings annually. Some caution is advised if gathering the plant from the wild, see the notes above on toxicity. The leaves are exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron. A nutritional analysis is available. The seed can be sprouted and eaten in salads. A hot mustardy flavour. The seed is ground into a powder and used as a mustard. The pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed – an enzyme (myrosin) acts on a glycoside (sinigrin) to produce a sulphur compound. The reaction takes 10 – 15 minutes. Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mild but bitter mustard.

Chemical Constituents:
Stems and leaves:
vitamins a, c and e, nicotinamide, a glycoside, gluconastur-tin, volatile oil, manganese, iron, phosphorus, iodine, copper, calcium

Leaves (Fresh weight)•19 Calories per 100g
•Water: 93.3%
•Protein: 2.2g; Fat: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 3g; Fibre: 0.7g; Ash: 1.2g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 151mg; Phosphorus: 54mg; Iron: 1.7mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 52mg; Potassium: 282mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 2940mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.08mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.16mg; Niacin: 0.9mg; B6: 0mg; C: 79mg;

Medicinal Uses:
Antiscorbutic; Depurative; Diuretic; Expectorant; Hypoglycaemic; Odontalgic; Purgative; Stimulant; Stomachic; TB.

Watercress is very rich in vitamins and minerals, and has long been valued as a food and medicinal plant. Considered a cleansing herb, its high content of vitamin C makes it a remedy that is particularly valuable for chronic illnesses. The leaves are antiscorbutic, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, purgative, hypoglycaemic, odontalgic, stimulant and stomachic. The plant has been used as a specific in the treatment of TB. The freshly pressed juice has been used internally and externally in the treatment of chest and kidney complaints, chronic irritations and inflammations of the skin etc. Applied externally, it has a long-standing reputation as an effective hair tonic, helping to promote the growth of thick hair. A poultice of the leaves is said to be an effective treatment for healing glandular tumours or lymphatic swellings. Some caution is advised, excessive use of the plant can lead to stomach upsets. The leaves can be harvested almost throughout the year and are used fresh.

Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, iodine, and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C. Because it is relatively rich in Vitamin C, watercress was suggested (among other plants) by English military surgeon John Woodall (1570–1643) as a remedy for scurvy.

Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. It also appears to have antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties; it is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer. A 2010 study conducted by the University of Southampton found that consumption of watercress may also inhibit the growth of breast cancer. The content of phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) in watercress inhibits HIF, which can inhibit angiogenesis.

Watercress is mentioned in the Talmud as being able to stop bleeding, when mixed with vinegar

Other Uses:
Hair; Miscellany.
The juice of the plant is a nicotine solvent and is used as such on strong tobaccos.

Known Hazards:
Whilst the plant is very wholesome and nutritious, some care should be taken if harvesting it from the wild. Any plants growing in water that drains from fields where animals, particularly sheep, graze should not be used raw. This is due to the risk of it being infested with the liver fluke parasite. Cooking the leaves, however, will destroy any parasites and render the plant perfectly safe to eat.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Nasturtium+officinale
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watercress
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail372.php

Fish Oil Promises Shorter Hospital Stay

A new research has shown that patients in the ICU who received intravenous fish oil had shorter hospital stays compared to those given standard Intravenous fish oil promises shorter hospital stays
…………………..CLICK & SEE.
Decreased inflammation and improved gas exchange in the lungs from the omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil allowed the patients to get better faster and go home sooner.

Philip Calder, from the University of Southampton, UK, and colleagues investigated the effects of including fish oil in the normal nutrient solution for patients with sepsis, finding a significant series of benefits.

They conducted the study in 23 patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome or sepsis in the Hospital Padre Américo, Portugal.

The results showed that patients with sepsis given fish oil were discharged from the hospital earlier compared to those receiving traditional nutrition.

“Recently there has been increased interest in the fat and oil component of vein-delivered nutrition, with the realization that it not only supplies energy and essential building blocks, but may also provide bioactive fatty acids,” Calder said.

“Traditional solutions use soybean oil, which does not contain the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil that act to reduce inflammatory responses. In fact, soybean oil is rich in omega-6 acids that may actually promote inflammation in an excessive or unbalanced supply,” he added.

Calder and his colleagues found that the 13 patients in the fish oil group had lower levels of inflammatory agents in their blood, were able to achieve better lung function and left hospital earlier than the 10 patients who received traditional nutrition.

“This is the first study of this particular fish oil solution in septic patients in the ICU. The positive results are important since they indicate that the use of such an emulsion in this group of patients will improve clinical outcomes, in comparison with the standard mix,” he said.

Source: The study appears in BioMed Central’s open access journal Critical Care .

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Mom’s Hips Gives Breast Cancer Clues

 

You can’t avoid breast cancer. But, you can find out if you’re at risk for the disease  it’s simple, just check out your mother’s measurements.

According to a study by scientists in Britain, women whose mothers have wide and round hips could be seven times more likely to develop breast cancer, the Daily Mail reported here in Tuesday.

“A woman’s hip size is a marker of her oestrogen production. Wide, round hips represent markers of high sex hormone concentrations in the mother, which increase her daughter’s vulnerability to breast cancer,” lead researcher professor David Barker of Southampton University said.

In fact, the researchers came to the conclusion after studying the health of over 6,000 Finnish women born from 1934 to 1944 and comparing it with information on their mothers‘ hip size. The measurement used was the intercristal diameter   the distance from hip bone to hip bone. According to the findings, a woman’s risk of breast cancer went up by 60% if her mother’s hips were more than 30 cm across.

The risk increased with hip size and with the length of time the baby was in the womb. Moreover, the researchers found that babies carried by wider-hipped women for the full 40 weeks of gestation or longer were 3.7 times more likely to develop breast cancer. And, adding the existence of elder siblings into the equation took the risk to more than seven-fold.

Source: The Telegraph(Kolkata, India)