Botanical: Cochlearia armoracia (also known as Armoracia lapathifolia and Armoracia rusticana)
Family: Cruciferae (mustard) - Brassicaceae (cabbage)
Other common names: Armoracia, Scurvy Grass, Red Cole, Great Raifort, Mountain Radish,
Great Mountain Root, Pepperrot
Want to clear your sinuses? Horseradish not only flavors our foods but is also an extremely pungent herb that helps to rid the body of excess fluids, which aids in the relief of respiratory congestion associated with bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, coughs and flu. It also works to clear the sinuses, flush toxins from the kidneys and urinary tract (good for stones, gout and arthritis) and expel poisons through the skin by helping to promote heaving sweating....and, as an added attraction, the grated fresh root will also add zip to your meals and bring tears to your eyes!
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Horseradish is a hardy perennial with a somewhat vague place of origin, but it is thought to be indigenous to southeastern Europe and western Asia, and cultivated (and found wild as a garden escapee) throughout Europe, from Sicily northwards and other parts of the world. The long, white cylindrical root, which is larger at the crown, is deeply planted and produces a two- to three-foot-high ridged stem with large, elliptical, pointed, bright green leaves that has a pungent aroma when bruised. The plant thrives in light, very rich, well-dug and moist soil in an open, sunny position that is protected from frosty weather. Horseradish has been used since ancient times and is said to represent morar, one of the five bitter herbs used by the Jews during the Passover Seder feast. In the first century A.D., the Roman scholar, Pliny, recommended the herb (which he called Armoracia) for its medicinal qualities to be used as a physic. Originally, Horseradish was cultivated chiefly as a medicinal herb and was used only for that purpose until well into the sixteenth century, when the Germans and Danes developed it as a culinary herb for fish sauce. In 1597, Gerard (who called it Raphanus rusticanus) claimed that it was not only a valuable medicine but also a valuable condiment, and by 1640, it was popularly used in Britain as a dressing for roast beef. The esteemed seventeenth-century herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper recommended Horseradish for sciatica, gout, joint ache and hard swellings of the spleen and liver, and by the eighteenth century, Horseradish was included in the Materia Medica of the London Pharmacopœias. Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) was one of the most famous biologists who ever lived and invented the system of naming all plants by two names, both genus and species, and he named Horseradish Cochlearia armoracia, because the leaves resemble an old-fashioned long spoon. Although the root is still used extensively in herbal medicine, it is now considered an equally important flavoring herb in Europe. The root is odorless, but when it is bruised, produces a pungent odor and a hot, biting taste, combined with a certain sweetness, and it is the part used in herbal medicine. Some of the constituents in Horseradish include a crystalline glucoside (sinigrin), isoenzymes, albumin, isothiocyanates, allyl-sulfide, volatile oil (mustard oil), myrosin, bitter resin, sugar, starch, gum, acetates, calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, silicon, pectin, myrocin, beta-sitosterol, beta-carotene, quercetin and vitamin C.
Horseradish is considered a very strong diuretic and diaphoretic that promotes urine flow and heavy sweating, as well as the general removal of fluids and toxins from the body. The removal of excess fluids is beneficial in helping lymphatic congestion, pericarditis and general edema (the accumulation of fluid in tissues that produces swelling) and also helps to flush impurities and small stones from the kidneys and bladder, including uric acid, which relieves gout, arthritis and rheumatism. Increased urine flow, along with the herb's antibacterial qualities, also works to alleviate urinary and bladder infections. In Germany, Horseradish is also approved as an add-on treatment to prescription drugs for relieving the symptoms of urinary tract infections. It is believed that chemicals in Horseradish concentrate in the bladder, and they may also activate specific enzymes that help to keep toxins - including carcinogens, from accumulating in the bladder.
As an expectorant, Horseradish is said to help break up chest congestion and eliminate mucus and waste fluids from the respiratory tract, which has been helpful for alleviating bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, persistent coughs, dry cough, whooping cough and symptoms of influenza. Because of the herb's sharp pungency, its dramatic effects have been known to clear sinuses in one breath and bring tears to the eyes. While draining the sinuses and lungs, the herb's antibacterial properties also help to inhibit sinusitis (sinus infection) and lung infection.
Horseradish is considered a fine stomach tonic, strengthening and toning the function of the stomach and helping to improve digestion. Its action as a cholagogue, or substance that stimulates bile production from the gallbladder, assists Horseradish in digesting fatty foods and relieving gastrointestinal problems. The herb also helps to relieve indigestion, colitis, poor appetite and flatulence.
As a mild laxative, Horseradish further eases gastrointestinal problems, particularly due to putrefaction of food, by speeding up its movement through the system, and its antiseptic and antibiotic qualities further protect the intestinal tract. The aperient action (which is not harshly purging) is also believed to be helpful in expelling worms from the intestines.
Horseradish is believed to stimulate circulation whether used internally or externally. Taken internally, it is said to warm and improve peripheral blood circulation, stimulating poor circulation to the extremities, which is especially beneficial for older persons who experience cold sensations or hypothermic feelings in the hands, legs and feet. Horseradish is also thought to bring color to the face and be beneficial for general debility.
Used externally, Horseradish also stimulates circulation, and as a topical anti-inflammatory, it reduces inflammation. It is considered a rubefacient herb, or agent that stimulates blood flow to the skin, causing local irritation and warming. As such, this action makes the herb effective in poultices and as a great massaging oil to relieve muscular aches and pains, painful arthritic and rheumatic joints, paralytic complaints, chronic rheumatism and chilblains. As an external rub, Horseradish has been used to break up chest congestion and ease pleurisy. The German Commission E also recommends external use of Horseradish for respiratory tract congestion as well as minor muscle aches. A poultice can be made and then applied against the skin once or twice per day until a burning sensation is experienced.
Horseradish, with its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, has been applied to control infected wounds, infected boils and inflamed gums.
It is said to be a fine hair rinse that enlivens a "dead" scalp and may even lighten freckles.
Horseradish contains a high vitamin C content and has been utilized in the past to prevent scurvy (reflecting one of the herb's common names, Scurvy Grass).
Pregnant and nursing women or young children under four years old should not use Horseradish Root Herbal Supplement, nor should those who have intestinal ulcers, thyroid or kidney problems. Overuse (many times the recommended dosage) may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or excessive sweating. Direct application to the skin or eyes may cause irritation and burning. At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with the use of Horseradish.