Horseradish is a large-leafed hardy perennial. It is cultivated commercially for its thick, fleshy white roots which possess an intense pungent taste. Horseradish is believed to be native to Europe.1 The plant reaches a height of 3 feet, bearing white flowers in the late spring. Some hybrids may be sterile and therefore the plant is generally propagated through root cuttings.
Horseradish has been cultivated for approxi-mately 2000 years. Early settlers brought the horseradish plant to America, and the plant was commonplace in gardens by the early 1800s. Through plant selection, hardy varieties were obtained that could be grown easily in the Midwest. The root has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Early uses included reducing pain from sciatica, expelling afterbirth, relieving colic, increas-ing urination and killing intestinal worms in children. Young tender leaves have been used as a potherb and as a salad green. Horseradish is one of the "five bitter herbs" (horseradish, coriander, horehound, lettuce and nettle) of Passover.
The pungency of horseradish is due to the release of allylisothiocyanate and butylthiocyanate, which occur in combination with the glucosinolates sinigrin and 2-phenylethylglycosinolate. The pungency is released only upon crushing. The isothiocyanates are released from glucosinolates by the action of thioglucosidases, which are commonly referred to as myrosinase. More than one-half dozen volatile glucosinolates have been identified using GC-MS analysis.
To preserve the quality of horseradish, the root is monly dehydrated, freeze-dried and powdered. Peroxidase enzyme is extracted from the root and i~ as an oxidizer in commercial chemical tests such as glucose determinations.5 The enzyme has also used as a molecular probe in rheumatoid a studies.
Horseradish is widely knownpungent, burning flavor. The isothiocyanates may mucous membranes upon contact or inhalation. In\ of large amounts can cause bloody vomiting an rhea? Despite the potential for severe irritation, hOI ish is generally recognized as safe for human cor tion as a natural seasoning and flavoring.
An extract of horseradish has been shown to inh enzyme cholinesterase.
For potential interactions, refe "Potential Herb-Drug Interactions" appendix.
Horseradish is a commonly used sp use of which dates back more than 2000 years. A not used to any extent in herbal medicine today, tI has a long history of traditional use. The pungenc root develops upon enzymatic hydrolysis of thioc containing compounds. These irritants may cause inflammation to mucous membranes. vermifuge and treatment for colic vorniting and diarrhea,
hoseradish has been used as a vegetable condiment diuretic vermifuga and treatment for colic and sciatic pain
horseradies may irritate mucosa large amounts mau cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea.