Lepidium sativum Linn

Family ► Curciferace, Brassicaceae.

Habitat ► Native to West Asia; cultivated throughout India as a salad plant.

English ► Garden Cress, Water Cress.

Ayurvedic ► Chandrashuura, Chan-drikaa, Vaas-pushpaa, Pashume-hankaarikaa, Nandini, Suvaasaraa, Aashaalim.

Unani ► Habb-ul-rashaad, Tukh-e-Taratezak, Haalim, Sipandaan.

Siddha/Tamil ► Alivirai.

Action ► Used in asthma, bronchial affections and bleeding piles. Seeds—lactagogue, diuretic, and emmenagogue. Used for treating skin disorders, fever, amoebic dysentery and asthma. Leaf— stimulant, antiscorbutic, diuretic. Roots—used in secondary syphilis and in tenesmus.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India recommends the use of dried seeds, in powder form, in gout.

The seeds are a good source of iron, but its bioavailability is poor (5.4% of total iron). They are used for rapid healing ofbone fractures. The ethano-lic extract of seeds significantly increased collagen synthesis and its deposition at bone fracture portion in the treated rats. The tensile strength of the broken tibiae also increased.

The seeds contain an alkaloid (0.19%), glucotropaeolin, sinapin (cho-line ester of sinapic acid), sinapic acid, mucilaginous matter (5%) and uric acid (0.108 g/kg). The seed oil exhibits pronounced oestrogenic activity.

The seed mucilage allays the irritation of the mucous membrane of intestines in dysentery and diarrhoea. It consists of a mixture of cellulose (18.3%) and uronic acid-containing polysaccharides; acid hydrolysis yield L-arabinose, D-galactose, L-rhamnose, D-glacturonic acid and D-glucose.

The plant contains pantothenic acid, pyridoxin and rutin. Ethanolic extract of the plant showed antiviral activity against rinderpest virus.

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