Garden Cress

Other Name(s):

Berro Hortelano, Cresson Alénois, Cresson de Jardin, Lepidio, Lepidium sativum, Mastuerzo.


Garden cress is a plant. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

People take garden cress for coughs, vitamin C deficiency, constipation, tendency toward infection (poor immune system), and fluid retention.

How does it work?

Animal research suggests that garden cress might help fight some bacteria and viruses, but there isn't enough information to know if it works in humans.

Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Coughs.
  • Vitamin C deficiency.
  • Constipation.
  • Water retention.
  • Strengthening the immune system.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of garden cress for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

Side Effects

There isn't enough information to know whether garden cress is safe to use as a medicine. Large amounts might cause irritation of the intestines.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking garden cress if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: Garden cress might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Therefore, blood sugar levels need to be monitored closely. Dose adjustments may be necessary for diabetes medications that are taken.

Low potassium levels (hypokalemia): Garden cress might flush potassium out of the body, possibly leading to potassium levels that are too low. Until more is known, use garden cress with caution if you are at risk for potassium deficiency.

Low blood pressure (hypotension): Garden cress might lower blood pressure. There is some concern that garden cress might interfere with blood pressure control in people prone to low blood pressure.

Surgery: Garden cress might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgical procedures. Stop taking garden cress at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


LithiumInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Garden cress might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking garden cress might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Garden cress might decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking garden cress along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Garden cress might lower blood pressure. Taking garden cress along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.

Water pills (Diuretic drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Large amounts of garden cress might decrease potassium levels in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking garden cress along with "water pills" might decrease potassium in the body too much.

Some "water pills" that can decrease potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDiuril, Microzide), and others.


Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow


The appropriate dose of garden cress depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for garden cress. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Reviewed on 6/14/2021

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Ziska, P., Kindt, A., and Franz, H. Isolation and characterization of a lectin from garden cress (Lepidium sativuum). Acta Histochem. 1982;71(1):29-33. View abstract.

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