Horseradish, a member of the cruciferous family, has been used throughout the centuries as an herbal remedy for sinus problems, colds, and flu. However, new studies are confirming that horseradish could also protect against cancer. Maybe it’s time to take another look at this under appreciated herb.
Although all parts of the horseradish plant can be used for various ailments, the root is the most common form, both as a remedy and a condiment.
Horseradish can be used for lung congestion and to prevent sinus infections. It thins the mucus, which can then 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. Horseradish steeped in warm milk is a folk remedy to relieve asthma, but I can’t vouch for the taste. 😳
This interesting root has antibiotic properties and also stimulates urine flow. For that 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. But guess what? Horseradish has 10 times more glucosinolates than broccoli! This compound helps 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)
Are you about ready to reconsider a little horseradish on your burger? 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, by adding some extra horseradish to your shrimp cocktail or my crab cakes.
Want to make a cold and flu tonic? Here’s something I put together. It might not win any taste awards, but it can work wonders.
HORSERADISH FLU TONIC:
1 16-ounce glass jar
2 tablespoons Gold’s horseradish
1/2 small onion, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon dried ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar to cover (about 1 cup)
1. Put the above ingredients in a 16-ounce larger jar, then fill to the top with vinegar.
2. Secure the lid and store in a cool, dark place (like a pantry) for 1 month.
3. After a 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