Popular names: peasant mustard, meat grass, pepper root, forest radish.

Parts used: root.

Pharmacy name: horseradish root – Armoraciac radix (formerly: Radix Armoraciae).

Botanical description. The thick root of this perennial plant is very long, terete, sometimes radiciform. Basal leaves are large, long-petiolate, oblong, serrated along the edge; upper – sessile, lanceolate-linear. White flowers are collected in a panicle. They develop swollen oval pods. Blooms in June-July. Horseradish comes from the countries of Southern Europe, in Germany it is bred as a vegetable crop. In addition to medicinal use, horseradish is very popular as a side dish for meat and as a spice. In the wild state, it is traditionally found only as brought from cultivation.

Collection and preparation. You can collect long horseradish roots from September to spring. They are dug up and usually consumed fresh. And in order to keep it longer, they cover it with a layer of earth in a cellar protected from frost.

Active ingredients: glycosides gluconasturcin and sinigrin, which are split off from mustard oil. Mustard oil acts as an antibacterial agent. Worthy of mention is also the high content of vitamin C and potassium salts.

Healing action and application. Scientific medicine does not use horseradish root, its use goes back to the traditions of traditional medicine. But since antibacterial active substances were found in it, interest in this medicinal plant has increased. Preparations with these substances are recommended for the treatment of infections of the kidneys and urinary tract, as well as bronchitis.

Application in folk medicine. Where horseradish is cultivated and widely known, it is considered an exceptionally good cough remedy. Finely chopped or ground horseradish is mixed in equal proportions with sugar or honey and given when coughing 2-3 times every day for a full teaspoon. It is also used in diseases of the kidneys and bladder. Grated horseradish is given to rheumatic patients, freshly grated horseradish gruel is used in compresses for headaches (put on the back of the head through a handkerchief), in compresses on the cheek for toothache. It is used as a remedy for freckles (smeared on the face), put on the chest during attacks of asthmatic cough. But be careful: horseradish is very irritating to the skin. All these mushy compresses must be kept for no more than 5-10 minutes. Horseradish is not often used against gastrointestinal ailments.

Use as a condiment. Freshly grated horseradish or its sauce with softening additives is a favorite seasoning for meat dishes. It is especially good with beef and pork in the form of cold appetizers. It is also served with fatty sausages. In France, boiled beef with horseradish sauce is an indispensable holiday dish.

Side effects. All acute substances that irritate the skin and mucous membranes are harmful in large quantities. With too frequent use of horseradish as a medicine or as a seasoning, inflammatory processes in the kidneys or gastrointestinal tract can be expected. Be careful when rubbing horseradish: your eyes may become inflamed!

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