Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) has been consumed in salads and sandwiches since ancient times. Western Asian, Mediterranean, and Indian cultures have used the seeds of garden cress to cause laxative effects, induce labor, or relieve pain. The roots have been used treat syphilis and tenesmus (urge to evacuate the stools). The leaves have been used as an antibacterial agent, a diuretic (increases urination), and a stimulant, as well as to treat liver disorders and scurvy (disease from vitamin C deficiency).
At this time, there is a lack of evidence supporting the efficacy of garden cress for any condition. However, various traditional uses exist.
Limited reports state that garden cress is useful for treating several illnesses, including colic, "viscous humors," and leprosy. Garden cress may relieve the body's allergic responses to insect bites. It has also been used as a fumigant (pest control substance), an anthelmintic (to eliminate parasitic worms), and an aphrodisiac. Also, garden cress may be useful in preventing hair loss and "renal cooling," and stimulating the appetite.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, garden cress displays the following properties: hot, bitter, tonic, and aphrodisiac. It is also useful in the treatment of dysentery, pain in the abdomen, blood and skin disorders, injuries, tumors, and eye diseases. Garden cress may stimulate the production of breast milk and prevent postnatal complications.
The traditional medicines of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries use the garden cress plant and seeds for healing bone fractures, although there is little evidence to support the effectiveness of this use.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), agrião (Portuguese), agrião-mouro (Portuguese, Galician), beatzecrexu (Basque), berro de jardín (Spanish), berro de tierra (Spanish), berro hortense (Spanish), benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC), Brassicaceae (family), bran, buminka (Basque), common cress, cress, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), escobilla (Spanish), endosperm, fiber, garden cress seed oil (GCO), garden pepper grass, glucosinolates, glutamic acid, herba do esforzo (Portuguese, Galician), hurf (Arabic), indoles, isothiocyanates, kardamon (Greek), land cress, linoleic acid (LA), lectin, lepidio (Spanish), Lepidium sativium, Lepidium sativum, leucine, mastruco (Portuguese, Galician), mastruco do sul (Portuguese), mastuerzo (Spanish), mastuerzo hortense (Spanish), methanol, morrisá (Catalan), morritort (Catalan), nasturtium (Latin), nasum torcere (Latin), omega-3 fatty acid, pepper cress, pepper grass, pepperwort, sulforaphane, tuffa' (Arabic), turehtezuk (Persian), water cress, whole meal.
Combination product example: SulforaWhite (a liposomal preparation that contains Lepidium sativum sprout extract, glycerin, lecithin, phenoxyethanol, and water).
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.