Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) is a perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family (which also includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbage). It is a root vegetable used as a spice.
The plant is probably native to southeastern Europe and western Asia. It is now popular around the world. It grows up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) tall, and is cultivated primarily for its large, white, tapered root.
The intact horseradish root has hardly any aroma. When cut or grated, however, enzymes from the now-broken plant cells break down sinigrin (a glucosinolate) to produce allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil), which irritates the mucous membranes of the sinuses and eyes. Grated mash should be used immediately or preserved in vinegar for best flavor. Once exposed to air or heat it will begin to lose its pungency, darken in color, and become unpleasantly bitter tasting over time.
Horseradish is a pungent, long, tapering root that employed as a condiment to the recipes. It possesses strong, hot, and sharp flavor which can only be appreciated after experiencing its unique taste!
Horseradish is native to the Eastern and Mediterranean regions of Europe from where it spread to Americas during colonial times. The plant is a small perennial herb, but can be grown as an annual field crop for its thick, rough, fleshy roots in many parts of Europe, America, and Asia, including Germany, USA, England, Hungary, Japan, and China.
Rusticana plant features broad, crinkled leaves. It grows best under cool climates with good sunlight conditions. In general, the rootlets (root sections) planted in the spring and harvested by autumn. It measures about 6-12 inches long with few round knots at the root-end. Fresh root has rough, gray-brown outer surface.
Horseradish has been cultivated and used as a medicine and condiment for at least 2,000 years. Early settlers brought the horseradish plant to America, and the plant was commonplace in gardens by the early 1800s. Hardy varieties were obtained through plant selection and grown easily in the Midwest.
The root has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It has been used to treat bronchial and urinary infections, inflammation of the joints and tissues, sinus congestion, and edema. Topically, it was applied to the skin to reduce pain from sciatica and facial neuralgia. Internally, it was used to expel afterbirth, relieve colic, increase urination, and kill intestinal worms in children.
The horseradish root is used as a condiment and may be grated and mixed with other flavorings to make sauce or relish. Young, tender leaves have been used as a potherb and as a salad green. Horseradish is 1 of the 5 bitter herbs (horseradish, coriander, horehound, lettuce, nettle) consumed during the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Whether it’s fighting the flu and respiratory disorders or combating tonsillitis and urinary tract infections, horseradish is a condiment that can help keep you healthy. Used to treat a wide variety of ailments over centuries, nearly every part of the horseradish plant seems to have some medicinal value. Tea made from its root has been used as an expectorant, while tea brewed from its flowers can be used to fight the common cold. A poultice can also be made of its roots to externally treat joint discomfort. In addition, raw leaves of horseradish also fulfill a purpose as a natural analgesic and, pressed against the forehead, can eliminate headache pain. Furthermore, an infusion of horseradish has known antibiotic properties, which have been proven effective against pathogenic fungi.
Horseradish contains significant amounts of cancer-fighting compounds called glucosinolates, which increase the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogens and may suppress the growth of tumors. Although broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables also contain these compounds, horseradish has up to 10 times more glucosinolates than broccoli.
Glucosinolates are responsible for the characteristic hot taste of horseradish, wasabi, and mustard, and two of the most abundant compounds in the horseradish root are sinigrin and gluconasturtiin. Once inside the body, glucosinolates are broken down into powerful derivatives called isothiocyanates and indoles, which are believed to be the main cancer-preventive contributors of horseradish and cruciferous vegetables.
Potassium is an essential part of our bodies that regulates the flow of cellular fluids and regulates the tension of blood vessels. Potassium deficiency results in higher blood pressure, which means a higher risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases and conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Eating horseradish, which is a rich source of potassium, can increase your heart health by lowering your blood pressure and regulating the passage of fluids and nutrients between cellular membranes.
Horseradish is has been shown in laboratory tests to be antibiotic, active against a variety of bacteria, so this can benefit a sinus infection. It has a high sulphur content, which may contribute to its antibiotic properties. A pungent oil in the root contains these properties.
Dr. Christopher recommended horseradish as a reliable remedy for sinus infections. Start with 1/4 teaspoon of the freshly grated root and hold it in your mouth until all the taste is gone. It will immediately start cutting the mucus loose from the sinuses to drain down the throat. This will relieve the pressure in your sinuses and help clear infection.
Some of the elements in horseradish act as gastric stimulants, and the plant as a whole is known to have a sizable impact on digestion and nutritional absorption. The phytochemicals in horseradish root stimulate various glands in the body, including those for salivation, gastric and intestinal juices. When combined with the fiber content of the plant that bulks up bowel and stimulates peristaltic motion of the smooth intestinal muscles, horseradish can ease any digestive issues and regulate bowel movements, while also decreasing the occurrence of constipation and diarrhea.
Horseradish preparations can also clear lung problems, coughs and asthma. Try it for such conditions and you will see that it is an immediate and very effective expectorant, cutting mucus and allowing you to eliminate it. Similarly it works well in respiratory ailments related to allergies, such as hayfever. You can make an infusion, sweetened with a little honey, for persistent coughs.
Horseradish is packed with proteins, vitamins, and minerals, but lacks fat and calories. This means that the protein can directly be metabolized into useful energy, new tissue, muscle matter, or cellular material that can be used to repair and bolster defenses against toxins and illness. Your energy levels can increase and the pungent sinigrin in horseradish can make you feel more aware and focused, raising your concentration level.
Horseradish is noted as a skin treatment, to remove spots and blemishes from the skin. Use 4 ounces freshly-grated horseradish, 1 quart buttermilk (dairy products used externally are okay), and 4 ounces glycerine. Place all in a half-gallon jar and shake well. Let stand overnight in a cool place. Shake well again and strain through a fine strainer. Bottle and keep cold, in the fridge. Then at night wash the areas on your face you want to treat, such as spots, discolorations, freckles, blackheads, scuff, or any skin blemish. Rub the horseradish lotion into the desired spot until the skin tingles with warmth. Wipe of the surplus and go to bed. This will stimulate the skin and bleach out unwanted discolorations.
Horseradish is very low in calories, only 6 per serving, and has no fat whatsoever. It does have omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids but they are an essential part of human metabolism. So just because they are labeled as “cholesterol” doesn’t mean that consuming them is always bad. Since it is high in fiber and rich in protein, horseradish can stimulate feelings of satiety. And it can be used freely in recipes without worrying about adding any unnecessary fats or calories. This way, overeating is reduced, and weight loss attempts are not compromised.
See also: “Vegetables“
Horseradish is naturally low in calories, with only 7 calories in 1 tablespoon of prepared, grated root. One tablespoon contains 1.7 grams of carbohydrate, essentially no fat and several important vitamins and minerals. For example, each tablespoon provides 8 milligrams of calcium and 37 milligrams of potassium. Along with small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Horseradish is also relatively rich in vitamin C. With about 4 milligrams per tablespoon, and also provides small amounts of the B vitamins. In addition to these vitamins and minerals, *horseradish also contains several phytochemicals, which are responsible for its medicinal properties.