The "Golden" Horseradish

"Worth Its Weight in Gold"

I've used Horseradish as a condiment on and off since I was about six years old. I had no idea, when I began to research this herb (or veggie) that I would find its properties so awesome that I would agree with Apollo that theis plant was "worth its' weight in gold"!

Collinsville, Illinois, is the self-proclaimed "Horseradish Capital of the World"
There are traditional or votive food uses of this root around world, for example, Horseradish is used in soup for Silesia (Easter soup in Poland)

Herbs that are actually used traditionally during Jewish Passover are five "bitter" herbs. These are Coriander, Lettuce, Horseradish, Horehound and Nettle. Shown above left, is Horseradish, leaf and flower. The grated root, cored, is used as a condiment during Seder, a feast during Passover. Hopefully Nettle is presented in its cooked and benign form! Link here for Properties information giving a précis upon the amazing benefits of Horseradish!

Link, also, to the Passover page, which offers a commemorative Passover recipe. I will be researching the rest of these vegetables or herbs from time to time, for the Passover page as well as for properties, etc.

For the scientific classification of the plants genus, see Wikipedia as well.

" According to Greek mythology, the Delphic Oracle told Apollo that the Horseradish was worth its weight in gold"
Find lots of information about traditional foods and also the benefits of Horseradish, by linking to: Wikipedia, Horseradish
Check out other benefits... Ever think of "Horse"radish as a tonic for "Hoarse"ness? Link to: Medicinal Properties

I had a great time surfing, finding very rich material on the net that lent to me the new ideas that I am plotting to put into action, once I have planted my root slips in the garden. Horseradish is rarely propagated from seed, and is planted from root cuttings.The reason for this is that this plant grows too well, apparently! These divisions are planted in the Spring in well-tilled earth that has been prepared (18 to 24 inches deep) with manure.
The plant itself is a Cruciferae, one of the family of cabbages, kale, broccoli, and mustard that are all anti-carcinogenic. It has a long, white root and long green leafery, reminiscent of Dock leaves, which flowers with many small white florets- same in shape to the mustard flowers, but glowingly pure white.
The family Cruciferae is called "cross-shaped" because the four petalled florets seemed reminiscent of a cross with equal arms to those early horticulturist who designated plant family names.

"When cut or grated, enzymes from damaged plant cells break down sinigrin (a glucosinolate) to produce allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil)"

Horseradish Detoxifies

Check this Reference, Wikipedia for a good photo of the flowering plant

So, 'Horseradish contains glucosinolates, and this compound in the root is thought to increase human resistance to cancer. It is said also that glucosinates increase the liver's ability to detoxify and eliminate carcinogens that may cause malignant tumors.'
Medical benefits of Horseradish, Hub
Read further in Hub Pages:   "Horseradish is well-known as a stimulant and tonic, but it is also called an immune-stimulant. It is a powerful stimulant, whether applied internally or externally as a rubefacient, and has aperient and antiseptic properties
As a blood tonic it helps to generate a higher white cell count.
As a diuretic (water- reduction) this herb can be taken by infusing grated radish in wine for stimulating perspiration, and also for improving the function of the bladder.

It is beneficial as a sauce (food remedy to be found in the linked pages) for dissolving mucus in nose and sinus.
Horseradish has exceptionally high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can repair damaged cells. Horseradish antibiotic properties can help cure urinary tract infections and kill bacteria in the throat.

Hub Pages Information on Horseradish

Beauty: Horseradish as a Cosmetic ? Anti -Ageing.

According to one esoteric site, Horseradish makes quite an excellent cosmetic for both skin cleanliness and skin colour. It is prepared in milk for the skin, but also mixed with wine vinegar to help with the removal of freckles and age spots!

Vitamin C content in any fruit or vegetable is a beauty ingredient in itself. Take as much C and natural sources of C as you can, for clear and glowing skin health. Constantly treating the possiblity of local infections from within is just a good beauty principle.

One site called Horseradish "the antiaging root", citing properties that can help counteract many age related changes. In addition to possibly fading age spots, it strengthens blood vessels, improves blood flow and regulates blood pressure. It can also aid digestion. If you want to lessen the dimensions of that 'balloon' you so 'love' that's wobbling away beneath that romantic breast, perhaps you might try the remedy shown below!

Take Horseradish with Milk for digestion

Horseradish milk aids digestion and limits gas!
Mix ½ tsp. of grated horseradish with 1 cup of warm milk. Drink daily for 2-3 weeks.

See this great site for remedies, tinctures, syrups.

Natural Healing Guide/ Horseradish

Fragrant Preparation for Languid Indigestion:

"A compound spirit of Horseradish may be prepared with slices of the fresh root, orange peel, nutmeg and spirit of wine", and this proves to be effective in languid digestion, as well as for chronic rheumatism, 1 or 2 teaspoonsful are taken two or three times daily after meals with half a wineglassful of water.

Horseradish can be infused in wine for a stimulus for the nervous system and to promote perspiration. As a tonic and diuretic, this root can help you with the beauty of body shaping if you are moderate in your use. Don't irritate your digestion, but a diuretic in modest quantities can make you feel a bit better about yourself. If you are plumping out form water weight, perhaps regular and small amounts fo this readily available food might be good for you. If you overdo a diuretic though, the wrinkling of your facial skin, even if you are quite young, is no very aware!
Prooting perspiration can also cleanse your skin very nicely, helping to flush toxicity.
Horseradish antibiotic properties can help cure urinary tract infections.

Pain and Swelling? The Versatile Horseradish

Horseradish poultices may be applied for the pain of sciatica, arthritis, rheumatism and bruising. Fresh scrapings are applied to chilblains.

Since it produces a mustard oil, Horseradish has also been used a s a folk remedy, a sub for a mustard plaster, a poultice made toproduce super heating and comfort, topically.
In Victorian times and before, mustard plasters were applied to the chest for deep congestion, difficulty breathing, and also to reduce persistent coughing. It can also be applied for pain in the tissue.
Not that we modern people do not have prepared topical medicines to this effect, but if you grow your own you always have some sort of alternative remedy for these emergencies, before you have time to go to the store, or before your end -of-month checque is in.
I know I have literally survived in this way, and I am really excited by the idea of growing this incredibly gifted medicine in my garden! Besides, I like the taste of Horseradish in a cheese sandwich...yummm!

The Chelsea Physic Garden Herbal (a book by Deni Bown Pavilion Books Ltd, ISBN 1 86205 414 2) mentions that Horseradish speeds the exretion of toxins in conditions such as arthritis and gout, and that it is also good for colds, flu and feverish chills. It can depress thryoid function and can be useful in poultice form for pleurisy or infected wounds.


I guess there are reasons why some of us don't experiment with natural remedies, and here are some of them:

Scraped horseradish can be bandaged upon the feet for chilblains, and it is held in the hand and applied by hand for facial neuralgia; contra-indications indicated suggest that if the shaved root is hand-held for too long, the hand will become very blanched white and also numbed.

N.B.: The preceding information can also be found in Mrs Grieves' A Modern Herbal, ISBN 1-85501-249-9, Cresset Press.

Large internal doses produc einflammation of the gasto-intestinal mucosae (ref: "The Encyclopaedia of Herbs and Herbalism (edited by Malcolm StuartOrbis Publsihsing, ISBN 0 85613 067 2) so horseradish can be such an emetic if too much is ingested, that bloody vomiting can occur. Take it easy with the delightful possibilities of healing internally and externally, beauty does not grow back in a day!

Great advice on Contra-indications is from: Wrong

In fact, Wrong Diagnosis contains an index for the qualities of many herbs, vitamins and therapies, including comprehensive contra-indications. It is a good site to link to from your favourites, if you want well-researched lists of counter-effects, before you try some natural remedy.
The actual link for this index is: Herbs, Vitamins and Therapies Index

Serious Studies

(Horseradish) 'has properties very similar to Black Mustard seeds, containing Sinigrin, a crystalline glucoside, which is decomposed in the presence of water by Myrosin, an enzyme found also in the root, the chief produce being the volatile oil Allyl, isothiocyanate, which is identical with that of Black Mustard seed.
This volatile oil, which is easily developed by scraping the root when in a fresh state, does not pre-exist in the root, the reaction not taking place in the root under normal conditions, because the Sinigrin and Myrosin exist in separate cells, and it is only the bruising of the cells that brings their contents together...
Horseradish contains two glucosinolates, sinigrin and gluconasturtiin, which are responsible for its pungent taste.
Horseradish contains , as well as volatile oils, such as the mustard oil (which has antibacterial properties due to the antibacterial mechanism of allyl isothiocyanate). Fresh, the plant contains average 79.31 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of raw horseradish.
The enzyme horseradish peroxidase, found in the plant, is used extensively in molecular biology for antibody detection... It is becoming increasingly important in biochemical research fields.

Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) is widely used in research for immunohistochemistry labeling of tissue sections

An example is its use in biopsies of subjects suspected to have cancer.
"Usually many molecules of the enzyme are covalently bound to an antibody of preferred specifiation for some other antibody that recognizes a specific biomarker expressed in cells that the tissue sections contain.
The HRP will convert 3,3-diaminobenzidin (DAB), that is next added to the sections, to a yellowish brown insoluble compound. This compound is then visible in a photon or electron microscope.'
Please see the earnest scientific documentation of this herb in full, linked below: *Much more at: Botanical

Hoarseness, Congestion,

Used as a natural medicine , horseradish can be a bronchodilator.
In a sauce made for dissolving mucus in the nose and sinus, it is only six calories, and also offers a source of useful Potassium.
One site mentions a folk remedy for babies' colds. Hold fresh scrapings of Horseradish under babys' nose to clear tough congestion and heavy mucus. Remeber Horseradish is a rubefascient and that contains a mustard oil, so don't hold on baby, just near to the nose.
a The Vitamin C in Horseradish is a potent antioxidant that can repair damaged cells. and kill bacteria in the throat. Glucosinolates, compounds in the root are thought to increase human resistance to cancer. Hmm, this gives me an idea for a condiment- apricots in wine with Horseradish. Apricots are believed to be powerfully useful in the prevention of lung cancer.
Bronchodilator, Hoarseness: Associated

Hub Pages/Medical Benefits

A Spice Index

Another type of Horseradish root is Japanese horseradish, used in sushi or wasabi as a pale green powder, or dried spice.

It is similar in flavour to horseradish but made from the tuber of an herb, Wasabia japonica. Dried, flaked and powdered horseradish retains its pungency more fully than the grated form which is stored in vinegar.

The related wasabi, which has a fiery taste comparable to horseradish mixed with mustard, originated in Japan; much is now grown in New Zealand and in Oregon. The spice continues to be used mainly as an accompanying condiment for sashimi and sushi, or as a snack flavor. It is common experience that oral intake of wasabi or horseradish constitutes the best therapy for sinusitis and nasal congestion.
It is of interest that radish seedlings contain S-carboxymethyl-cysteine, which is marketed as a synthetic mucolytic in Europe. #Allyl isothiocyanate (“allyl mustard oil”) is the major chemical produced by horseradish and mustard; several other related sulfur compounds contribute to the pungent taste and initiating odor. These chemicals are very toxic when used in large amounts.

Ground-up horseradish can be added to a glass of water sweetened with honey; this suspension can be used as a gargle to improve mucus clearance.
The leaves are sometimes used in salads

Another good addition to ones' favourites dropdown on the toolbar could be the spice index that is listed below, from which the above information was obtained:

Spice Index

Preparation and Storage

"Fresh horseradish can be grated at home quite easily but the root should first be trimmed and scraped under running water to remove soil. Not much flavour lies in the central core, which is difficult to grate, and this core should be discarded. The whole root can be kept in the vegetable drawer of a refrigerator for a few weeks.
Grated horseradish may be kept in white vinegar or successfully frozen in a sealed container and used as required.
Powdered horseradish is reconstituted by mixing with water but, like powdered mustard, remember to allow time for the full flavour to develop."
There are many types of preparation available from the wealth of information on internet. Type in 'medicinal+horseradish' for a long, long list of things to do this summer!

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