Garden Cress seeds known as Halim in Hindi, Aliv in Marathi and Alvi in Kannada are wonder seeds commonly used in traditional post natal care across many states in India.
Water cress seeds come with a host of nutritional benefits and prevent many diseases. They have great iron and Folic acid content and are good for increasing haemoglobin. These seeds are rich in B vitamins and are also high in protein and phytochemicals.
They regulate the menstrual cycle and are galactogogues that increase breast milk production making them great for the post natal period.
I remember my aunt bringing in a box of laddus made from these seeds during my post natal period.
Due to their nutritious properties, these seeds can also be used when there is weakness, to tackle aches and pains, when one is recuperating or simply to add more energy to life. They are best had 2 to 3 times a week as more than that can increase the heat or pitta in the body. When the seeds are boiled in milk, the pitta properties are balanced.
Although these seeds are good for the post natal period they are best avoided during pregnancy. According to Ayurveda, these seeds are good for Vata and Kapha disorders.
The immense nutritional benefits of these seeds means that everyone can enjoy them in moderation, which would be not more than a tbsp, 2 to 3 times a week.
I remember my mother giving me these seeds for 3 days in the first 40 days of my post natal period. She made a lovely Kheer for me again as I was recuperating from a viral infection, after the fever subsided.
It was so delicious and I felt amazing after relishing it.
Garden Cress Seed Kheer
1 tbsp watercress seeds
125 ml (1/2 cup) water
250 ml (1 cup) milk
2 tbsp jaggery
1 cardamom pod, seeds crushed
Wash and soak the water cress seeds in water for 2 hours or overnight.
Cook the seeds in the water on low heat or until they turn translucent adding a little more water if required.
Add the milk and cook until thick and the seeds acquire a gel like consistency. Just before turning off the heat, add the jaggery and cook until it melts. Season with cardamom powder. Allow to cool and enjoy at room temperature.