Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
Horseradish has a long fleshy root like a carrot or parsnip. It is a perennial that likes full sun. This plant needs cold weather to develop good flavor. Dried horse radish loses potency, it is best when fresh. You will notice that the root is practically odorless when harvested, however the roots give off a pungent and unpleasant mustard smell thanks to the mustard oil contained under the skin. The herb does not keep well when the skin has been broken, so you need to use quickly to avoid any degradation and to get the best out of this herb.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Horseradish can be used for lung and urinary infections. It is also a helpful herbal remedy for arthritis, sciatica and gout. It can be used for general weakness. This herb is a diuretic and can be used to treat edema. It stimulates the digestion. It has been used to remove worms in children. Some people have used horse radish to treat excessive thyroid activity. The oils of the herb are antibiotic.
Externally Horseradish poultices will increase the circulation around infected wounds. It can also be used to increase the blood flow for rheumatism, bronchitis and pericarditis. It is useful for arthritis, stiffness and neck pain. This herb can be soothing for chilblains. Horse radish is regenerative and disinfectant. It can be used on blemished, oily skin and to stimulate hair growth.
Other Uses Horseradish is a popular spicy condiment used for meats and as an inexpensive substitute in wasabi paste. Young fresh leaves can be eaten in salads.
Root The root is used medicinally.
Horseradish may cause skin irritation. The essential oil from the root is considered to be hazardous. Do not take large quantities of this herb. If prepared in water over 113 degrees F, it may form toxic substances. Do not use horse radish if you have low thyroid activity, goiter, kidney disorders, acid dyspepsia, peptic ulcers or high blood pressure. Excessive use may cause vomiting, stomach upset and excessive sweating. Direct contact with skin or eyes may cause burning and irritation. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid this herb in medicinal doses. It should not be used for children under the age of four. There are no known drug interactions with horse radish.
Preparation and Dosage
Horse radish syrup can be made to pour over external areas that need to have the circulation stimulated. Grate the fresh root and cover with sugar or honey. Put the mixture in a cold place to steep. Extract the liquid and keep it in the refrigerator. For a tincture, place one part of fresh root in 5 parts of 100 proof vodka. Let it steep for 2 weeks, being sure to shake the tincture every day. Strain out the herb and bottle in dark glass. To take fresh horseradish, ½ to 1 teaspoon of freshly grated root can be eaten three times per day.