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Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a plant that you may not know much about. In fact, this could be your first time hearing about it.
Watercress is an aquatic plant and is known as an environmental weed in some regions. It is named jalkumbhi in India.
The best part about this plant is that it possesses abundant nutrients. It is also known for its therapeutic benefits. The medicinal use of watercress dates back to 400 BC, when Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used it to treat his patients.
The various beneficial properties of watercress include:
This rich profile of the watercress can be extended to its use in hair care.
Why Choose Watercress for Hair Growth?
Here’s why watercress seed oil is good for your hair. (1)
1. It is rich in antioxidants
Watercress has been used as a home remedy or a medicinal plant by the people of Iran.
Studies that evaluated the antioxidant activity of N. officinale extract have shown that it possesses high antioxidant activity due to its rich chemical constituents that mediate the direct trapping of free radicals. This is why N. officinale extract is helpful in the prevention of free radical-related diseases such as hair damage. (2)
Oxidative stress is one of the major causes of hair damage because it releases free radicals in the body, which cause hair loss and damage to your tresses. Oiling your hair with oils rich in antioxidants may provide a protective shield for your hair to prevent damage caused by oxidative stress. (3)
2. It may help control hair thinning in diabetics
Watercress can be helpful in controlling hair thinning in people with diabetes.
Studies have shown the negative effect of diabetes on hair growth. These studies concluded that diabetes can be associated with an increased risk of severe hair loss. (4) This is because the hair growth cycle is impacted by poor blood glucose management and hormonal imbalances in diabetes. This leads to hair loss or lack of hair growth. (5)
Watercress has been used as a hypoglycemic agent for the treatment of diabetes because of the high concentrations of phenols, polyphenols, and flavonoids it contains. One study reported that the hypoglycemic effect of oral acute administration of aqueous watercress extracts was higher than that of insulin in diabetic rats. The study supported the use of this plant for the treatment of diabetes and the health issues caused by it. (6)
3. It is rich in vitamins that can be helpful for hair loss
It is no secret that people are curious about the role of different vitamins in preventing hair loss. Micronutrients are major components in normal hair follicle development. A deficiency of such micronutrients may present a risk of hair loss or premature graying.
A lack of iron, vitamin D, folate, vitamin B12, and selenium in the body can cause premature hair graying or whitening. Also, a deficiency of biotin, folate, and vitamin B12 can be linked to increasing hair loss.
So, the use of watercress, which is rich in most of these nutrients such as riboflavin, vitamin B6, and folate, can help control hair loss. (7)(8)
4. It is a cruciferous vegetable that is good for hair health
Cruciferous vegetables are abundant in folic acid, which is why these vegetables can be helpful in controlling weak, thinning, and brittle hair. The same was demonstrated by a study that concluded that increased intake of cruciferous vegetables significantly improved hair problems such as hair loss or hair thinning.
Watercress, being a cruciferous vegetable, is therefore great for achieving healthy hair. (9) It is richer in vitamin C than oranges and may prevent hair breakage.
A deficiency of vitamin C has been found to cause hair breakage because this vitamin is essential for collagen and sebum production. The good news is that watercress has more vitamin C than oranges and thus can be very beneficial in preventing hair loss and encouraging hair growth. (10)(11)
5. It has more iron content than spinach and aids in maintaining hair health
Iron deficiency is the planet’s most common nutritional deficiency. Numerous studies have explored the association between iron deficiency and hair loss. Some of these studies propose that iron deficiency may be linked to hair disorders such as alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium, and diffuse hair loss.
Although data to conclude the direct relationship between hair loss and iron deficiency are limited, researchers suggest that treatment for hair loss is improved when iron deficiency is treated.
Since watercress is extremely rich in iron (it has more iron content than spinach), it may therefore be helpful in the upkeep of hair health. (10)(12)
How to Use Watercress for Hair Growth
You can reap the benefits of watercress in the following ways.
Applying watercress extract or oil
- Apply watercress extract to your scalp for 1–2 hours.
- Massage your scalp gently.
- Wash your hair with shampoo as usual.
The best way to eat watercress is to toss it into a salad and serve it with a light dressing. You can also eat it with other vegetables. Just make sure to remove the thickest stems if you decide to eat it.
DIY Watercress Preparations for Hair Health
Research supports the use of natural remedies traditionally used for treating hair and scalp disorders. Here are some common at-home preparations of watercress: (13)
- Mix jojoba, olive oil, watercress, and castor oil in a bowl, and then rub the mixture on your hair and scalp.
- Take wild fennel oil and mix it with honey, watercress, and olive oil. Rub this mixture on your scalp.
- Mill wild fennel seeds and then soak them in warm water. Mix this with watercress, and apply the mixture to your hair and scalp.
Most-Asked Questions About Watercress for Hair Growth
How do I know which watercress oil to purchase from all the available options?
Always purchase your watercress oils from trusted suppliers and brands. Go for options that have fewer ingredients and preservatives. Try to skip products with chemicals in them.
Is watercress a superfood?
Watercress contains 15 essential vitamins and minerals. Its rich nutritional value has made watercress a superfood for centuries now.
What makes watercress unique?
Watercress is unique due to its high levels of a compound called phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), which has been shown to have anticancer properties.
What nutrients are watercress rich in?
Watercress is rich in:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin a
- Most B vitamins
After years of going unnoticed and unheard of, watercress is now being seen as a superfood with a ton of health benefits. Its use as a medicinal plant may not be famous yet in every household but can be dated back to 400 BC.
The exceptional nutritional profile of watercress makes it a boon for your hair. You should definitely try watercress seed oil for your hair.
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