Horseradish

Armoracia rusticana, Cruciferae. The root is the part of the plant used.

The roots are collected in winter and stored in sand.

Functions of horseradish

Horseradish is a household remedy to be used whenever a stimulating herb is called for. Horseradish:

  • can be used for influenza and fever and is equivalent to cayenne pepper as it is a warming herb and will increase perspiration and cool the body.
  • stimulates the digestive process whilst easing wind and griping pains. It also has an antibacterial action which will help with mild gastric upsets. It has also been used in cases of urinary infection.
  • will improve the circulation.
  • used as a poultice, made from the grated root can be used to ease inflammation in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, but do not use excessively or for too long as blistering may result. It can also be used as a poultice in bronchitis.

Notes on horseradish

  • Do not use horseradish to excess as it can cause gastric irritation.
  • Horseradish can depress the thyroid gland function so do not take it if your thyroid hormone levels are low.

Dosages

The fresh root is often used as a vegetable.

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the powdered or chopped root and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day or more often when using it to treat influenza or fevers.

For the gardener

You can grow horseradish by digging up and cutting through the thick roots in early spring, leaving a growing tip on each. Replant these about 30cm (12 inches) apart in rich humus soil. Weed regularly, and keep free from snails. Horseradish will grow from a small piece of root that is left in the ground so be sure to select a place where they can stay.

Feed them regularly with compost and manure. Dig and replant healthy roots every two to three years.

Young leaves can be used in salads, but the root is used to make horseradish sauce, which is served with fish and meat.

References

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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