Halam is an Indian variety of garden cress that is grown widely by the Indian and Bangladeshi community on allotments. It is often grown to a larger size than the cress used for salads. Both the seeds and the leaves are used in cooking and for beneficial health properties.
Halam is generally not sold as named varieties, and the vast majority of it is sown from whole seed spice packets obtainable in Asian grocery stores. Halam is very easy to grow and can be grown in a number of ways. For people with a lack of space, halam can be grown in a container on the windowsill. Sow any time of year into a small container of potting compost. Keep the container moist, and they should germinate within a few days and be ready to harvest from 10 days onwards. If grown outside it grows best on a well-drained, moderately fertile soil. It can be sown any time from March until September. Sowings in mid summer will bolt very quickly. Sow directly into the site, into rows 20cm/8in apart, with 5cm/2in spacing between pinches of seeds. The soil should be kept moist. Germination is quick, within a few days. After a week, thin the seedlings to 10cm/4in spacing. Halam will need to be sown every two weeks to ensure a regular supply. If you are growing it for seed production, it will flower most quickly from sowings in May – June. It has white flowers followed by long thin seedpods.Uses
Halam is useful on diarrhea, blood diseases and diseases due to gastric trouble. Internally, candrasura(halam) is used with great benefit to alleviate the hiccup. The seeds (20 gm) are soaked in 250 ml. of water and the cold infusion is recommended to sip frequently. This household remedy is very commonly used andis effective. this infusion also augments the quantity of urine, hence, mitigates dysuria as a galactogogue and a general tonic it is often used in the postpartum period. the medicated milk (ksirapaka) is prepared for this purpose. it is a very potent galactogogue, a valuable tonic and is also beneficial to relieve the low back pain. it also works well, in male sexual debility as it has good aphrodisiac property. candrasura is a keen stimulant to digestive system and its properties like an appetizer, vata alleviator, anti colic and stool binding are useful in the conditions loss of appetite, indigestion, flatulence, abdominal pain, diarrhea and dysentery. it is a blood purifier and also useful in gout. it relieves the mucous, and so is salutary in cough and asthma.