Scientific Name:Armoracia rusticana
About this Herb:Horseradish is believed to have originated in southeastern Europe and western Asia. It is resistant to low temperatures as well as to droughts. This herb grows in shaded places as well as warm ones. But it does not grow in sandy soils, however argillaceous alkaline soils rich in humus are ideal for horseradish. It can grow up to 5 feet; it has large edible leaves and a branched stem. Horseradish is a perennial plant in the same family as mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbage. The root of the plant is what is commonly used. The intact horseradish root has hardly any aroma. When cut or grated, however, enzymes from the damaged plant cells break down sinigrin (a glucosinolate) to produce allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil), which irritates the sinuses and eyes. Once grated, if not used immediately or mixed in vinegar, the root darkens, loses its pungency, and becomes unpleasantly bitter when exposed to air and heat.
After the first frost in the autumn kills the leaves, the root is dug up and divided. The main root is harvested and one or more large offshoots of the main root are replanted to produce next year's crop. Horseradish left undisturbed in the garden spreads via underground shoots and can become invasive. Older roots left in the ground become woody, after which they are no longer for culinary purposes. However, older plants can be dug up and re-divided to start new plants.
Uses:The leaves of the plant, while edible, are not commonly eaten. They are referred to as "horseradish greens". Prepared Horseradish is used in many recipes and as spreads for meats, fish, sandwiches, etc.
If you are trying to lose weight, make sure horseradish, mustard and salsa are on your shopping list, advises recent guidelines on obesity from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). These condiments received high marks throughout the guidelines for their low fat, high-flavor qualities.
An agricultural food service researcher and an Oklahoma State University food chemist have proved both horseradish and mustard oil pack a punch against Listeria, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and other food pathogens you definitely don’t want in your stomach. The reason being, these condiments contain a pungent chemical called allyl isothiocyanate (AITC). Mustard oil has 93 percent AITC, while horseradish has 60 percent AITC. Horseradish has been found to be a great source to aid in digestive disorders. It gives a nice boost to the immune system by giving the liver more power to filter out substances that might be harmful. Horseradish is a diuretic and is used to treat various minor health problems, including urinary tract infections, bronchitis, sinus congestion, ingrown toenails and coughs. A tea made from horseradish flowers can treat the most serious cold and flu.
The spicy root of horseradish can be used as a natural treatment against rheumatic disorders and respiratory disorders, especially the superior respiratory ways. It is so beneficial because it is laden with a high amount of vitamin C and B complex, nutritive minerals (potassium, calcium, iron), natural antibiotics, enzymes etc.
Applications:Syrup: Horseradish syrup is obtained in the following way: grained horseradish root is mixed with 4 spoons of honey and are left to mix for several minutes. The mixture is strained and pressed with gauze. The raw syrup is obtained. The remains from the gauze are set to boil in a small quantity of water. After boiling, the mixture gets strained and then left to cool off, after which it gets mixed with the raw syrup. It is consumed by taking 3 spoons of the mixture a day.
Tincture: Use Grated Horseradish and your favorite drinking alcohol such as whiskey, gin or brandy. Mix equal parts in a jar and cover, allow to rest for 3 to 7 days. May be used as a mouthwash/gargle for sore throats, sores in the mouth and to strengthen gums. Drink 2 to 4 tablespoons to relieve coughs.
Tea: Place several flowers in a cup and add boiling water, let steep for 5 minutes, then drink to relieve flu and cold symptoms. Tea may also be made using shredded leaves and grated root. Be sure to strain before drinking in either case.