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  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World

HORSERADISH ( Armoracia rusticana G. M. Sch. )
Names in Other Languages:

English Horseradish
French Raifort, Cranson de Bretagne, Cran
German Kren, Meerrettich
Spanish Rábano picante, Taramago
Italian Barbaforte, Cren, Rafano
Turkish Bayır turpu, Yaban turpu
Japanese

FAMILY: Brassicaceae

ORIGIN:   The plant is originated from Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, and it is now widely cultivated in Central and Eastern Europe.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

Horseradish root usually grows from 15-38 cm long, has several rounded knobs at the root end, and measures 3.5-7.5 cm in diameter. The plant itself can grow to 9 m tall and has stems with wavy, jagged leaves. The horseradish root looks like a gnarled parsnip with a green top. It has knobby, brown skin that is rough and wrinkled and a creamy white flesh that is firm. [1]

USEFUL PARTS:

Root, always used fresh or pickled.


SENSORY PROPERTIES:

Intact horseradish root does not give intense aroma, but on cutting, shredding and especially grating, a pungent and very strong odour is occurred. This odour is not stable but vanishes after some minutes.

Horseradish roots

MAIN CONSTITUENTS:


Horseradish root contains approx. 0.6% of glucosinolates; the most abundant of these are sinigrin (0.2%) and gluconasturtiin (0.1%). As soon as intact cells are damaged, these isothiocyanates are enzymatically hydrolyzed to yield allyl isothiocyanate and 2-phenylethyl isothiocyanate, respectively.

Further glucosinolates in horseradish are glucobrassicanapin and the indol-derived glucobrassicin. On hydrolysis, glucobrassicanapin yields 4-pentenyl isothiocyanate; yet the glucobrassicines have no corresponding stable isothiocyanates. Instead, they hydrolyze to 3-hydroxyindole derivatives and free isothiocyanate ions.

Among the non-volatile constituents, one should mention flavone glycosides (quercetine, kaempferol) and particularly ascorbic acid, which is contained to 06% in horseradish root. [2]

MAIN USES IN FOOD PROCESSING:

Horseradish can be used in sauces or as condiment with meat or fish. It can be served with meats and vegetables and either by itself or in vinegar, or in a plain sauce. Horseradish can be served with potato salads and poached sausages.

An infusion of sliced horseradish in milk, by its stimulating pungency and the sulphur it contains, makes an excellent cosmetic for the skin when lacking clearness and freshness of colour.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES:  

Horseradish is stimulant, aperient, rubefacient, diuretic and antiseptic. Not only it has aperient and antiseptic properties but also acts as an excellent stimulant to the digestive organs, and acts as a spur to complete digestion. It is also a very strong diuretic, useful in the treatment of dropsy.

Horseradish plants in flower


The spicy root of horseradish can be used as a natural treatment against rheumatic disorders and respiratory disorders, especially the superior respiratory ways. It is so beneficial because it is laden with a high amount of vitamin C and B complex, nutritive minerals (potassium, calcium, iron), natural antibiotics, enzymes etc.

The root contains so much sulphur that it is serviceable used externally as a rubefacient in chronic rheumatism and in paralytic complaints. A poultice of the scraped root serves instead of a mustard plaister. Scraped horseradish if applied to chilblains, secured with a light bandage, will help to cure them. For facial neuralgia, some of the fresh scrapings, if held in the hand of the affected side, will give relief - the hand in some cases within a short time becoming bloodlessly white and benumbed.

If horseradish root infused in wine, it will stimulate the whole nervous system and promote perspiration.

Dried horseradish roots

Horseradish juice mixed with white vinegar will also, applied externally, help to remove freckles. The same mixture can give a relief to children in whooping-cough.

If eaten at frequent intervals during the day and at meals, Horseradish is said to be most efficacious in getting rid of the persistent cough following influenza.

Indians used to chew the horseradish root to escape toothaches and it was used as a natural medicine to treat scurvy.

The glucosinolates in the root are thought to increase human resistance to cancer. Glucosinolates are plant compounds that occur only in the plants from the mustard family (horseradish, mustard, broccoli, cauliflower etc.) They have powerful antioxidant properties and can also be used to reduce thyroid function and to relieve aching joints. Glucosinolates also act as natural antibiotics against different types of infections because they increase blood flow in the infected area and remove the waste products from that region of the body.

Due to its antibiotic properties, horseradish can cure urinary tract infections and kill bacteria in the throat that cause bronchitis, coughs and related problems.

Dried horseradish roots


Juice or sauce extracted from horseradish root can release sinus infections by dissolving the mucus in the nose. Horseradish sauce works better when mixed with radish leaves and root juice and also carrot juice. Besides sinusitis, it is curative also for hay fever.[3,4]

Side Effects:

People that suffer from peptic ulcer, hyper acid gastritis or hypothyroidism should avoid using horseradish as treatment or condiment for the food, as it is a very powerful remedy that can augment some conditions.

REFERENCES and SOURCES:

[1]http://www.harvestwizard.com/2007/02/horseradish_the_peak_season_fo.html
[2] http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Armo_rus.html
[3]http://news.softpedia.com/news/Benefits-from-Horseradish-28911.shtml
[4]http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/horrad38.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20070225092854/unitproj.library.ucla.edu/biomed/spice/index.cfm?displayID=16
http://www.aidanbrooksspices.blogspot.com/2007/10/horseradish.html