Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.
Latin Name: Armoracia rusticana synonym: Cochlearia armoracia
Horseradish is called Sahijan in Hindi & Shevga in Marathi.
Horseradish is known by several other names among them being; Mountain radish, Red cole and Horseplant.
The word horse in horseradish possibly denotes its large size and coarseness and the radish comes from the Latin radix meaning root.
It is the spicy root of the horseradish plant that is used and called as such. It is primarily used to make horseradish sauce.
Horseradish belongs to the family Brassicaceae which includes vegetables like the cabbage, mustard, broccoli and kale.
Wasabi, though called Japanese horseradish, with a flavour similar to the horseradish is derived from a tuber of the plant Wasabi japonica which is different from the real horseradish. Wasabi is green in colour, as opposed to the pure white-fleshed root of horseradish and has a more intense flavour.
Horseradish has been known for about 3000 years and even the Egyptians as early as 1500 BC knew about it.
It began to be cultivated commercially in America in the mid-1850s and today about 6 million gallons of prepared horseradish is produced each year in the U.S. which is enough to liberally season enough sandwiches to wrap 12 times around the world.
Horseradish is among the 5 bitter herbs, besides coriander, lettuce, nettle and horehound that are consumed during the Jewish Passover Seder, a Jewish ritual feast the marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover.
The Horseradish Plant
Horseradish Plant & Root
It is a large leaf, perennial herb, about 5 feet tall and is native to Southeast Europe and Western Asia.
The plant is primarily grown for its thick, large and white-fleshed tapering root that has no aroma in its unbroken state.
Chopped or grated horseradish loses its flavour pretty quickly but the unbroken root can be stored in the fridge for almost 6 to 9 months when wrapped properly in a paper pack.
As much as is needed can be chopped off from the tip and used when needed.
When the root is chopped or grated, it produces the volatile allyl isothiocyanate by an enzymatic reaction. The fumes of this compound are irritating to the eyes, nose, skin and mucus membranes when the compound gets oxidized by air. When it mixes with the saliva it produces the characteristic heat sensation that is felt.
These isothiocyanates are released only when the root cells get ruptured by chopping or grating. Vinegar when added immediately stops the reaction and stabilizes the flavour. The longer the addition of vinegar is delayed the stronger the flavour though this also depends on how strong or mild the horseradish initially is.
The prepared horseradish in a tightly closed bottle in the fridge at all times, to keep its flavour intact for long. Even then, it keeps losing its flavour and gradually turns darker in colour and has to be discarded.
Do not serve horseradish in silverware as it tarnishes it.
Uses Of Horseradish
Horseradish is a very pungent and hot spice but since it loses its flavour quickly it should be added to the dish in the final stages.
It is much used to prepare spicy dips and sauces, as a dressing for salads for meat, chicken and seafood.
The outer fibrous layer should be completely removed before grating/chopping it and care should be taken while grating or grinding to avoid the fumes of the irritating compound, allyl sulphide gas, that is released by the disintegration of the glucosinolate, Sinigrin, from coming in direct line with the nose, eyes or mouth.
The term horseradish or prepared horseradish refers to grated horseradish root mixed with vinegar. It is a popular condiment in Bloody Mary cocktails and cocktail sauce. In the U.S. it refers to grated horseradish mixed with mayonnaise or salad dressing.
Horseradish cream is a mixture of horseradish and sour cream. Besides this horseradish is available as shredded horseradish, beet horseradish and dehydrated horseradish.
It is also made into a paste much like a mustard paste. The fresh rootstock is used in homoeopathy as a remedy Armoracia (coch.)
Nutrients In Horseradish
- Low in calories and fat
- High in fiber
- Rich in vitamin C
- Has a variety of minerals and B complex vitamins though their levels are low.
- Contains many volatile compounds (glucosinolates) that provide antioxidant and detoxifying benefits
- Some of these volatile compounds increase the secretion of digestive enzymes
Nutrients In Horseradish
Nutrition value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Benefits Of Horseradish
Horseradish has gastrointestinal stimulating, digestive, purgative, anti-spasmodic, diuretic, antimicrobial, diaphoretic, rubefacient and antiseptic properties.
- Since it stimulates the production of gastric juices it helps in digesting rich and fatty foods.
- It stimulates blood flow to the inflamed muscles and joints and provides relief in pains, aches, arthritis and rheumatism.
- It contains sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting compound. The glucosinolates are present in significant amounts in horseradish. These suppress tumour growth and aid the liver in detoxifying cancer-causing agents.
Horseradish has almost 10 times more glucosinolates than Broccoli. Not only do they protect against cancer they also increase our resistance to cancer as per a study by the University of Illinois.
The fact that processing the root increases its anti-cancer benefits is all the more worthwhile to consume this root as much as possible.
- Horseradish sauce or juice has been found to relieve sinus discomfort. The sauce can be consumed easily and it has been found that 1/2 tsp of the grated sauce 2 times a day works well to clear the sinuses.
- Because of its anti-bacterial property, it kills bacteria not only in the urinary tract but also in the respiratory tract, thus clearing the urinary tract and bladder of infections, and coughs, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments.
- Horseradish and vinegar mixture has been found to treat dandruff.
- Because of its diuretic effect it improves urine excretion thus flushing out excess water and this, in turn, prevents water retention in the body. Thus it is especially useful to those who suffer from water retention issues.
- It relieves sciatic and neuralgic pain when applied topically.
- It kills intestinal worms in children.
Side Effects & Precautions
- Like other vegetables of the cabbage family, horseradish may suppress the thyroid function. Hence this caution for those with thyroid issues.
- Because it irritates the GI tract it can cause unpleasant side effects in those with gastric & intestinal issues.
- Because it increases urine output it can unfavourably affect those with kidney issues.
- Horseradish can be too strong and toxic for very young children.
- External application of horseradish may cause skin irritation and allergies in those with sensitive skin.
Some Horseradish Trivia
- Horseradish, even today, for the most part, is planted and harvested by hand.
- It was one of the first convenience foods when its sale was started in 1860 as bottled horseradish.
- Before it was called horseradish, it was known as Red Cole in England and Stingnose in some parts of the U.S.
- In the American South, horseradish was rubbed on the forehead to relieve headache.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.
Homemade Preserved Horseradish Recipe
See the link below which will explain in detail the method and precautions you need to take to prepare preserved horseradish at home.
- How to Make Homemade Preserved Horseradish | Serious Eats
Jarred horseradish is perfectly tasty stuff, but nothing compares to freshly grated horseradish preserved in vinegar. Here's how to make it at home.
How to Make Prepared "Hot" Horseradish - Homemade Horseradish Recipe
Horseradish Sauce Recipe - How to Make Horseradish Sauce
Smoke-Roasted Chicken with Horseradish Dip
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly
Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 07, 2020:
Some Indian recipes do use the horseradish leaves but most of the time it is available without the leaves. Peggy. Its pungent flavour takes some time to get used to for many people.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 04, 2020:
The leaves of horseradish look pretty. I wonder if people eat the leaves in addition to the roots? We keep prepared horseradish in our refrigerator when we make a cocktail sauce for cold boiled shrimp. It is delicious when used with certain meats, also. It is a pungent flavor, but a good one!
Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 05, 2016:
Flourish, yes horseradish does have its unique powerful taste. Appreciate your stopping by.
FlourishAnyway from USA on May 03, 2016:
Because of its strong taste, I have only used this in a homemade BBQ sauce. It definitely packs a punch! Maybe I'm missing it as a headache remedy, however! Didn't know that!
Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 16, 2016:
Thank you Devika.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 16, 2016:
Brilliant hub! A well-researched topic and definitely new to me.
Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 14, 2016:
Shaloo, thanks for reading and leaving your comments.
Shaloo Walia from India on February 13, 2016:
All this information is new to me. I have never even heard of this before. Thanks for sharing!
Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 12, 2016:
MsDora, some precautions need to be taken if preparing horseradish at home as indicated. I appreciate your visit very much.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 12, 2016:
I may have eaten horseradish, but I have never prepared it myself. I appreciate these nutritional facts and benefits. Thanks for the recipe videos.
Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 11, 2016:
@manatita - thank you Bro.
@Bill - good to know you do enjoy this vegetable. Thanks for stopping by.
@Marlene - glad you found the info on horseradish useful. I appreciate your visit.
Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 11, 2016:
I absolutely enjoy serving horseradish on pork steaks. Yum, yum, yum! It is interesting that you explain the difference between horseradish and wasabi. I had a feeling they were different, but wasn't really sure. Thank you for the clarification. And, thank you for showing the many benefits to horseradish. I had no idea about its anti-cancer benefits. This is an excellent hub covering everything we need to know about horseradish.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 11, 2016:
I actually do eat this and enjoy it....but I was not aware of the nutritional value of it, so thanks, once again, for the great information.
manatita44 from london on February 11, 2016:
A very informative Hub and video, for the Horseradish enthusiast. This guy seems to know his stuff.
Lots of minerals here, and indeed a great history on the plant. Very well presented, my Friend Rajan.