Horseradish has been used by mankind for over 3000 years for
everything from an herbal treatment for rheumatism, a plague tonic,
a bitter herb for Passover Seders and an accompaniment to beef,
chicken, and seafood. The Egyptians knew about Horseradish as far
back as 1500 B.C. Early Greeks used it as a rub for low back pain
and an aphrodisiac. Some have used horseradish syrup as an
expectorant cough medicine.
It is believed that Horseradish got its name because the Germans
called it 'meerrettich' (sea radish) because it grows by the sea.
The English are believed to have mispronounced the German word to 'mareradish.'
Eventually it became known as horseradish.
Commercial cultivation in America began in the mid 1850s, when
immigrants started Horseradish farms in the Midwest. By about
1860, it was being sold in as a sauce in jars becoming one of the
first convenience foods.
The volatile oil works as a nasal and bronchial dilator and local
irritant. This process has been used for cleansing the sinuses as
the vapor has been shown to inhibit microorganisms. Internally, it
works as a stimulant for digestion by promoting stomach secretions
and has been found effective as an aid to digestion.
Medicinally, Horseradish was used both internally and externally.
Applied to the skin, it causes reddening and was used on arthritic
joints or irritated nerves. The glycosides are responsible for the
reddening effect (by increasing blood flow to the area) when
horseradish is applied topically.
Internally Horseradish is classically used to treat infections of
the urinary tract and kidney conditions in which excessive amounts
of water are retained.
Horseradish is a natural antibiotic and may be used to help many
internal conditions of illness, most specifically, upper respiratory
problems. If eaten at frequent intervals during the day and at
meals, Horseradish is said to be most efficacious in getting rid of
the persistent cough following influenza. The German Commission E
also recommends external use of Horseradish for respiratory tract
congestion as well as minor muscle aches. A poultice can be
prepared by grating the fresh root and spreading it on a linen cloth
or thin gauze. This is then applied against the skin once or twice
per day until a burning sensation is experienced.
This basic formula goes back to medieval Europe and Asia where the
plagues struck so hard. In Korea, this tonic became a popular sauce
called kim chee (kim chee is being studied and found to have anti
cancer properties). It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that will
destroy both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. It is also a
potent antiviral and antifungal formula as well as increasing
blood circulation to every cell.
Equal Parts of:
Garlic Cloves, Ginger, Horseradish Root, White Onions, Cayenne
Peppers (The hottest, i.e. Habanero, African Bird, or Scotch Bonnets,
in a blender with 1/3 unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 2/3-grain
alcohol. Put the blender on high and turn the mixture into a
smoothie. Use some right away if you need to; place the rest into
canning jars, keep in cool dark place, shake once a day. Dosage:
1 ounce, two or more times daily, gargle and swallow.
Poultice: This tonic can also be applied as above as a poultice.
Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988