Horseradish is a perennial plant of the cabbage family, mainly cultivated for its roots. The plant can grow up a height of 5 feet. It bears a branched stem, white flowers and large crinkled leaves which are used as a vegetable. The roots are about a foot long, and have a strong flavour and pungent taste. The plant is native to south east Europe and West Asia but it also grows in Asia, Germany, Hungary and England. Generally, it grows in places with a cold climate that receive plenty of sun.
Part used: Roots and leaves (roots used as sauce, juice and grated form)
Chemical composition: It contains mustard oil, vitamin C and some vitamin B, and minerals potassium, calcium, sodium, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus.
Horseradish roots have the highest amount of vitamin C amongst all vegetables. They aid in digestion and are used as an appetizer. The roots are diuretic and antibacterial. A sauce made from the roots is used in treating UTI (urinary tract infection). It also removes toxins, cleans the bladder and reduces burning sensation during urination.
A tea made from the root is a diaphoretic. It has a warming effect thus reduces fever by promoting sweating.
Grated Horseradish with honey can help reduce cough, cold, hay fever, dropsy, bronchitis and congestion. It can also help with problems of the circulatory system and diabetes.
Poultice obtained from horseradish is quite beneficial in winters. It helps reduce swelling of hands and feet caused by cold weather and accelerates healing of wounds.
The oil obtained by soaking the roots for a few hours can relieve muscular pain.
Horseradish with a little vinegar can be used as a hair wash.
Due to presence of calcium and phosphorus, it is beneficial for the bones and teeth.
Horseradish leaves are cooked and used as vegetable. Antioxidants and vitamin C present in the leaves help prevent the cell damage by free radicals, prevent cancer, detoxify the liver and remove cancer forming substances, suppress growth of cancerous cells and help prevent viral infections.
Gargling with tincture obtained from horseradish helps treat mouth ulcers.
Contraindications: It is contraindicated in the persons having gastric ulcers, gall stones, kidney troubles , pregnant women and children below 4 years.