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Horseradish | Nutrients | Health Benefits | Recipes

Updated on February 10, 2016
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.


Horseradish root
Horseradish root | Source

About Horseradish

Latin Name : Armoracia rusticana synonym : Cocleara 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 a 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 color, 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 1850's 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

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Horseradish Plant With Large LeavesHorse radish InflorescenceCross Section Of The Horseradish Petiole (Leaf Stalk)
The Horseradish Plant With Large Leaves
The Horseradish Plant With Large Leaves | Source
Horse radish Inflorescence
Horse radish Inflorescence | Source
Cross Section Of The Horseradish Petiole (Leaf Stalk)
Cross Section Of The Horseradish Petiole (Leaf Stalk) | Source

Horseradish Plant & Root

It is a large leaves, 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 flavor. 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 flavor and gradually turns darker in color 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 these horseradish is available as shredded horseradish, beet horseradish and dehydrated horseradish.

It is also made into a paste much like mustard paste. The fresh rootstock is used in homeopathy 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 secretion of digestive enzymes

Nutrients In Horseradish

Horseradish prepared,
Nutrition value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Nutrient value
Percentage of RDA
48 cal
11.29 g
1.18 g
Total Fat
0.69 g
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
3.3 g
57 mcg
0.386 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.093 mg
0.073 mg
0.024 mg
0.008 mg
Vitamin A
2 IU
Vitamin C
24.9 mg
314 mg
246 mg
56 mg
0.058 mg
0.42 mg
27 mg
0.126 mg
31 mg
0.83 mg
1 mcg
0 mcg
10 mcg

Health Benefits Of Horseradish

Horseradish has gastro intestinal stimulating, digestive, purgative, anti-spasmodic, diuretic, anti microbial, 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 significantly amounts in horseradish. These suppress tumor 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 effect 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

  1. Horseradish, even today, for the most part is planted and harvested by hand.
  2. It was one of the first convenience foods when its sale was started in 1860 as bottled horseradish.
  3. Before it was called horseradish, it was known as Red Cole in England and Stingnose in some parts of the U.S.
  4. 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 Prepared "Hot" Horseradish - Homemade Horseradish Recipe

Horseradish Sauce Recipe - How to Make Horseradish Sauce

Smoke-Roasted Chicken with Horseradish Dip

© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 21 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Flourish, yes horseradish does have its unique powerful taste. Appreciate your stopping by.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

      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 jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thank you Devika.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Brilliant hub! A well-researched topic and definitely new to me.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Shaloo, thanks for reading and leaving your comments.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 2 years ago

      All this information is new to me. I have never even heard of this before. Thanks for sharing!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      MsDora, some precautions need to be taken if preparing horseradish at home as indicated. I appreciate your visit very much.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      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 jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @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.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      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.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      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 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      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.