Habitat & Cultivation : Native to Europe and western Asia, this herb is widely cultivated for its root, unearthed in autumn.
Parts Used : Root, leaves.
Constituents : Horseradish root contains glucosinolates (mainly sinigrin), flavonoids, asparagine, resin and vitamin C. On being crushed, sinigrin produces allyl isothiocyanate, an antibiotic substance. The flavonoids have been shown to be antioxidants.
History & Folklore : Pliny (23-79 CE) likely referred to horseradish when describing a plant believed to ward off scorpions. Throughout its long history, horseradish has primarily been recognized as a diuretic herb. This pungent herb has gained popularity as a condiment, especially in regions such as Britain and central Europe.
Medicinal Actions & Uses : Despite being currently undervalued as a medicinal herb, horseradish possesses numerous healing properties. It serves as a potent digestive stimulant, enhancing gastric secretions and appetite. As a diuretic, it supports increased urine production, and its ability to induce perspiration makes it beneficial in fevers, colds, and flu. Horseradish also exhibits expectorant and mild antibiotic properties, proving useful in respiratory and urinary tract infections. For hay fever relief, a sandwich with freshly grated root is a common home remedy. Additionally, externally applied, a poultice made from the root can provide soothing effects for chilblains.