Origin: Water chest natively belongs to Western Europe and Africa, Russia and Asia. It is very popular in China and other Southeast Asian countries. It was first introduced to North America in the mid 18th century. It was introduced in the Cambridge botanical garden at Harvard University. It was later planted in different ponds in Massachusetts. The water chestnut plant was also found growing in the Charles River around 1879. It was also introduced in the lakes near New York.
By 1900, water chestnut was cultivated in the Hudson River. It also wildly grows in eastern Asia, and China, Indonesia and Australia. It grows in tropical, subtropical, and wetland of warm temperatures like Madagascar, central Africa, India, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indo-China, Malaysia, southern United States of America, and the Pacific islands. The cultivation of water chestnut became known to Europeans in the 17th century.
Scientifically: The water chestnut plant grows efficiently in shallow water. It is scientifically called Eleocharis dulcis in China and Trapa natans in other countries like Africa, USA, and Europe. It is a perennial reed-like plant and has long and thin hollow leaves. The edible part of this plant grows underneath the water. The edible part is also called corn.
This rooted aquatic annual plant dies back at the end of each growing season. The plant re-grows once the seeds germinate. Each seed produces floating leaves and these leaves are also submerged up to 6 inches into the water. Each floating leaf forms a rosette at the end. Each rosette produces up to 20 hard, nut-like fruits. The fruit ripens around the month of July. It takes almost a month to ripe and contains a single seed.
Usage: these water chestnuts can be eaten either raw or cooked or is used in curries or dumplings. These water chestnuts are mildly sweet and are used for cooking as well as medicinal purpose. These nuts are very nutritious, tasty and are low in calories.
It also contains a high amount of antioxidants which help in fighting cancer-causing radicals. It also helps in controlling blood pressure and other heart diseases. It aids weight loss and keeps you full for a longer time. It also helps in treating skin diseases, removes toxins. It helps in the appearance of the skin and keeps the skin youthful. It helps in making hair healthy and lustrous. The potassium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin E in water chestnut help in making hair stronger.
Below are some DIYs with water chestnut:
- Take some freshwater chestnuts, make a paste and apply on the face and body. It helps in treating puffiness and swollenness.
- Use water chest seed powder with lemon juice helps to cure eczema.
- Take some freshwater chestnuts, make a paste and apply on the face with some aloe vera gel. This remedy helps in cleansing the face and makes your skin fresh.
- Use some water chestnut paste with a tablespoon of yogurt. Massage it on the scalp and keep it on 30 minutes. Shampoo later. This remedy helps in making hair frizz-free and manageable.