Horseradish, a member of the cruciferous family, has been used throughout the centuries as an herbal remedy for sinus problems in particular and colds and flu in general. However, new studies are confirming that horseradish could also protect against cancer!

Although all parts of the horseradish plant can be used for various ailments, the root is the most common form, both as a remedy or as a condiment. 

Horseradish helps prevent sinus infections by thinning the mucus so it can be more easily eliminated before bacteria has a chance to take hold. Eating some spicy horseradish at the first sign of a cold or flu will keep the nasal passages open and the sinus cavities clear. It’s also used for lung congestion and steeped in warm milk as a folk remedy to relieve asthma.

Horseradish has antibiotic properties and also stimulates urine flow. For this reason, it has been used by herbalists to treat and prevent urniary tract infections. It combines well with cranberries, also known to fight UTI’s. Used as a poultice, it can reduce inflammation and relieve aches and pains.

The newest research has identified in horseradish high levels of glucosinolates, compounds found in other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mustard and cabbage. However, horseradish has  10 times more glucosinolates than broccoli. This compound is the active ingredient that has been shown to help the liver break down carcinogens and slow down the growth of cancerous tumors. 

"According to Cornell University’s Department of Animal Science, vegetables containing glucosinolates and their derivatives appear to help protect against rectal and colon cancer, while also enhancing the activity of several liver enzymes used in detoxification processes.” (1)

Processing horseradish, unlike many foods, actually increases its beneficial effects, so feel free to use that jarred horseradish you buy at the grocery store. You can fight a cold, prevent a sinus or urinary tract infection and possibly protect yourself from cancer, while enjoying some shrimp with cocktail sauce (my husband’s Cajun recipe)!

Want to make a cold and flu tonic? I’m trying this recipe for the first time, and it’s steeping now, as I type. I’ll let you know how it tastes, but if you want to make your own, here’s what I did:


1 16-oz. glass jar

2 T. Gold’s horseradish

1/2 small onion, chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger

1 T. dried ground turmeric

1/4 t. cayenne pepper

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar to cover (about 1 cup)

1. Put the above ingredients is a 16-oz or larger jar, then fill to the top with vinegar. 

2. Put on the lid and store in a cool, dark place (like a pantry) for 1 month.

3. After the month, strain the vinegar and add some raw honey to taste.

4. Take a spoonful diluted in some hot water or tea every day during the flu season.


Grieve, M. (1971). A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications


Williams, J. (2003). Jude’s Herbal Home Remedies. Minnesota: Llewellyn Press

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™