Horseradish (Cochlearia Armoracia) is used as a condiment like mustard. It makes a flavorful accompaniment for beef, chicken and seafood. Horseradish is also considered an excellent herbal remedy for treating everything from asthma to tuberculosis. Horseradish oil contains sulfur and is used to fight bacteria. It is effective in killing Listeria, E. coli, Staphylococcus and other harmful food bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
Horseradish helps clear mucus from the body. It is grated and taken by mouth. To clear the sinuses, horseradish should be held in the mouth as long as possible. The horseradish fumes will penetrate swollen, fluid-filled tissue and cause mucus to run more freely.
When the white, fleshy root is grated, a pungent aroma is released. Horseradish also has a hot taste. During the grating process plant cells are crushed and volatile oils are released. Vinegar stops this reaction and stabilizes the flavor. For milder horseradish when used in cooking, vinegar is added immediately.
Horseradish has powerful medicinal properties. It acts as a stimulant, diuretic and antiseptic. Taken with oily fish or rich meat it acts as an excellent stimulant to the digestive organs and as an aid to digestion. When taken for a cold, horseradish clears the nasal passages and promotes restful sleep.
Horseradish was once used by herbalists in the treatment of dropsy. An infusion was prepared by pouring 1 pint of boiling water over 1 ounce of grated horseradish and 1/2 ounce of crushed mustard seed. The dose was 2 to 3 tablespoons three times a day.
When infused in wine, Horseradish root will stimulate the whole nervous system and promote perspiration. Horseradish syrup is very useful in treating hoarseness. If eaten at frequent intervals during the day and at meals, horseradish is said to be effective in getting rid of persistent cough.
An infusion of sliced horseradish in milk is said to make an excellent treatment for skin problems. Do not get horseradish in the eyes!
Greeks have been using horseradish since 1500 B.C. They used the herb to treat food poisoning, as a lower back rub, and as an aphrodisiac. Appointed as one of the five bitter herbs, Jews have used horseradish as part of their religious observance during Passover for centuries. In Europe during the middle ages, horseradish was used as a cough expectorant and treatment for food poisoning, scurvy, tuberculosis, worms, and colic.
Horseradish is grown in the United States for domestic use and exported to other countries. Collinsville, Illinois is called the Horseradish Capitol of the World and the town hosts a Horseradish Festival every June. Horseradish is also grown in Wisconsin.
Horseradish is a perennial plant that grows up to five feet tall. It likes very rich soil. Root cuttings with attached crowns are best planted in very early spring. Plant the roots12 to 15 inches deep and 12 to 18 inches apart. Horseradish is easy to grow and may become invasive. During winter, the crop may be lifted and stored like beets. It is necessary to replant the bed every three or four years to keep the crop from deteriorating.
* Always consult with your healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
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