Horseradish (Cochlearia Armoracia) – Horseradish 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.
The pungent aroma and hot taste of horseradish become apparent when the white, fleshy root is grated. During this process the plant cells are crushed and volatile oils are released. Vinegar stops this reaction and stabilizes the flavor. For milder horseradish, vinegar is added immediately. For coughs and colds horseradish is used in its original state.
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 is a very strong diuretic, and was used by old 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 makes an excellent treatment for the skin.
Greeks have been using horseradish since 1500 B.C. They used the herb as a lower back rub and 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. Horseradish is also grown in Wisconsin.
Horseradish is a perennial plant that grows up to five feet tall. It must be grown in 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 physician before using any herbal remedy.
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