Horseradish or Cochlearia armoracia is a perennial plant. This plant is a member of the Cruciferie or Brassicaceae family that includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, radishes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. Horseradish is a native to South Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Horseradish was named the “Herb of the Year 2011” by the International Herb Association. Today, America is the largest producer of Horseradish, producing approximately 6 million gallons.
Horseradish has large edible leaves with branched stems. The plant can grow up to a height of 2m. It is cultivated for its thick, fleshy white roots during the spring and the fall. Horseradish is hot and aromatic when it is grated, cut or ground. When the root cells are crushed or grounded, volatile oil called isothiocyanate is released. Vinegar is added immediately to stop the reaction and stabilize the flavor. Horseradish is resistant to low temperatures as well as droughts. It grows well in sunny as well as shaded places. However it does not grow on sandy soils.
Horseradish is a 3,000 year old plant which is said to have originated in south-eastern Europe and western Asia. The herb was known to the Egyptians since 1500 BC. They used the herb for curing sciatic nerve You do not have access to view this node, easing childbirth, increasing urination, relieving colic, and killing intestinal worms. Ancient Greeks used Horseradish as a rub for low back You do not have access to view this node. Horseradish was also used as an aphrodisiac. Some people also used Horseradish syrup as a cough medicine. Horseradish was one the "five bitter herbs" of Passover.
Prepared Horseradish is used in many dishes. To prepare Horseradish, grind the washed, cleaned and diced Horseradish roots in a blender or a processor in a well-ventilated room. The fumes from grinding Horseradish are very potent, so it is best to process less than half the container at a time. Blend the grated Horseradish by mixing some cold water and if possible some crushed ice. When the roots reach the desired consistency, add about 2 -3 tablespoons of white vinegar and about ½ teaspoon of salt for each cup of grated horseradish. Lemon juice can act as a substitute for white vinegar. The mixture can be placed in small glass jars and refrigerated. Prepared Horseradish is generally white to creamy beige in color. Processed Horseradish is good to use for months and then eventually starts darkening, thus indicating that it is losing flavor and must be replaced.
Horseradish is used to prepare sauce. It is made from grated Horseradish root, vinegar and cream. It is a popular sauce in the United Kingdom. Horseradish sauce in the US refers to grated Horseradish combined with mayonnaise or whip salad dressing. Large condiment manufacturers like Kraft foods sell this type of sauce. Horseradish sauce is often served with beef, sandwiches and salads. Prepared Horseradish is a common ingredient in many cocktails such as Bloody Mary. It is also used as a spread or a seasoning for meat, chicken and fish. Horseradish is also used as an ingredient in soups. Horseradish is a fat free food. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend Horseradish as part of a healthy, low-fat diet. Horseradish can also be used as a food preservative.
Horseradish has many medicinal properties. It acts as a strong antibiotic, expectorant, bronchodilator, diuretic and coronary vasodilator. It is also anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-anemic and anti-scorbutic. It helps in increasing blood pressure and body heat, stimulates immunity system and enhances appetite. It has a cardio-tonic effect and is recommended to people suffering from low blood pressure. It is also known that Horseradish has aphrodisiacal properties. Horseradish can be used to treat bronchitis, sinusitis, paradontosis, rheumatism, anemia, flu, stomatitis and facial paralysis. As for sinusitis and rhinitis it is enough for a cataplasm to be placed on the forehead along with two spoons of grained Horseradish so that the nose gets immediately decongested and relieved. Horseradish is great for gums because of its strong simulating effect. Horseradish syrup is also taken in case of asthma, lung ailments and breathing disorders.
Horseradish is considered to be safe when consumed orally in moderate amount. However, presence of mustard oil in processed horseradish can irritate the lining of the mouth, nose, throat, urinary tract, and digestive system. Horseradish can also cause stomach cramps, loose stools, bloody vomiting, and diarrhea. It may decrease the activity of the thyroid gland. It may cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Children less than 4 years old should avoid Horseradish. Pregnant and lactating women must avoid Horseradish. Individuals suffering from intestinal ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, digestive tract ailments, kidney problems or hypothyroidism should also avoid Horseradish.