A water chestnut is an edible tuber that grows in water. Indigenous to Asia, it has brownish-black skin that resembles that of a true chestnut, but it has crunchy, juicy white flesh.
Despite its name, the water chestnut is a vegetable. A staple of Asian cooking, it is a popular ingredient in soups, stir-fries and egg rolls, and people in Indonesia blend it into a drink. Research indicates that water chestnuts have antioxidant properties and contain "puchin," a substance that acts like penicillin.
In ancient times, aboriginal medicine men crushed the outer bulb into a paste and used it to dress wounds.