7 Health Benefits of Horseradish

Horseradish has been used medicinally for thousands of years for a variety of conditions, from clearing sinus infections to assisting digestion. Ancient Greeks even used it as an aphrodisiac.

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) belongs to the cabbage family of plants known for their health benefits, along with broccoli, mustard and wasabi. In fact, most wasabi paste you eat in sushi restaurants is really a mixture of horseradish and food coloring. Horseradish is much easier to grow and far more plentiful than real wasabi.

Whether itís horseradish paste, sauce or other condiment, thereís good reason to develop a taste for this ancient root. Letís take a closer look at some of the proven health benefits of horseradish.

1. Boosts Immune System

Certain compounds in horseradish have been shown to provide immune support. Isothiocyanates give horseradish its pungent smell, but these compounds are also proven to stimulate your immunological response. This includes increasing production of white blood cells, which are your bodyís first line of defense against infection.

Horseradish also has very high amounts of peroxidases compared to most other plants. Peroxidases are enzymes that promote anti-inflammatory activity and stimulate cell immunity.

2. Improves Digestion

Phytochemicals found in horseradish stimulate various digestive glands in your body, including salivary, gastric and intestinal glands. This may be why horseradish is traditionally served as a condiment with other foods to aid digestion.

3. Helps Control Pain

Horseradish is sometimes used topically to help soothe muscle and joint pain. Itís been shown to increase blood flow to the skin, which can promote healing and reduce pain. Try mixing horseradish with a bit of olive oil and rubbing it into the skin where you feel discomfort. Some report this can even be effective against headaches.

Related: Benefits of Growing and Eating Lovage

4. Lowers Cancer Risk

Vegetables in the cabbage family are proven to contain many compounds that inhibit cancer development. In particular, a 2016 study found that horseradish contains cancer-fighting compounds known as glucosinolates. These compounds help destroy cancer-causing free radicals in the body, as well as activate certain detoxifying enzymes.

The amount and type of glucosinolates vary in horseradish depending on its size and quality. Roots that are bigger and longer actually contain more glucosinolates, so look for larger roots when youíre buying fresh horseradish.

And researchers pointed out that you donít need to eat a lot of horseradish to get a good dose of glucosinates. Horseradish had 10 times the amount of glucosinates as its cousin broccoli, and a teaspoon of horseradish is enough to get all the anticancer benefits.

5. Has Antibiotic Properties

Horseradish has been found to combat a variety of different bacteria. Several studies have found horseradish preparations to be as effective as pharmaceutical antibiotics against ear infections, gastrointestinal illness caused by E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, pneumonia, bronchitis and urinary tract infections.

Horseradish can also fight oral microorganisms. One study tested the effect of horseradish extract on 9 different strains of bacteria and one type of yeast, all of which contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease. The horseradish extract showed antimicrobial action against all of the microorganisms.

Another potential application of horseradishís antimicrobial action is in food preservation. Research has shown that horseradish extract can effectively control the growth of microflora in tofu, improving its safety and shelf life. Horseradish extract also has an antibacterial effect when itís used in a marinade for meat.

6. Clears Sinuses

If youíve smelled a strong horseradish sauce, youíve likely already experienced this benefit. Horseradish has long been used to help alleviate sinusitis and clear mucus from nasal passages. If youíre having issues with nasal congestion, try mixing some freshly grated horseradish root with a bit of wine vinegar and inhaling the fumes.

7. Reduces Water Retention

Horseradish is a recognized diuretic, which means it increases urine flow and the movement of water out of the body. This can help those who have edema or other water retention problems.

In addition, horseradish is shown to reduce high blood pressure, which has a protective effect on your blood vessels. This may be partially due to its ability to flush excess fluids from your body.

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Faith Billingham
Faith B20 hours ago

Great article, thanks!!

Faith Billingham
Faith B20 hours ago

Great article, thanks!!

hELEN h3 days ago


michela c
michela c4 days ago


kathy bonard
kathy bonard7 days ago

Love horseradish,even more as it is so good for you.

Alexandra Richards
Alexandra R7 days ago

Thank you.

Naomi D
Naomi D21 days ago

Great info. New for me. I love horseradish.

Jan S
Jan S29 days ago

thank you

Louise R
Louise Rabout a month ago


Gino C
Gino Cabout a month ago

thanks for sharing