Herb of the Month – Horseradish

🌿 Our Herb of the month is Armoracia rusticana – Horseradish.
Family: Brassicaceae

🌿 Horseradish, a tenacious perennial with large leaves native to Europe related to the cabbage and mustard, is harvested for the long white fleshy tapering roots. This humble root vegetable has survived eras remaining a ‘traditional food’ for Eastern Europeans and Jewish folk, regularly consumed in Europe, Russia and North America, generally as a condiment. Horseradish substitutes for wasabi in paste outside of Japan.

🌿 Grated horseradish root, with a pungent odour and strong acrid taste, is fat-free and nutrient-rich providing vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus plus dietary fibre. The strong flavour occurs when crushing the herb with subsequent enzymatic reactions ensuring the sulfur-containing glucosinolates (e.g. sinigrin) break down into isothiocyanates, a natural defence mechanism.

🌿 Therapeutically, horseradish stimulates circulation, addresses fever, clears the respiratory tract and aids digestion, non-exhaustive.
Horseradish has indications for internal and external use and is traditionally renowned as an anti-catarrhal, circulatory and digestive stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic plus rubefacient and counter-irritant.

🌿 Notwithstanding, modern herbal medicine appears to have marginalised horseradish utilisation which has been cited as vastly underexploited and as a neglected and underutilised plant species for improving human health! Due to the glucosinolate constituents, horseradish is goitrogenic, hence, contraindicated in Hypothyroidism. Also, exercise caution in cases of peptic ulcer or GIT sensitivity.