Is Horseradish Good for You? Proven Health Benefits of Horseradish (Science Based)

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How To Use Horseradish For Sinus Infections, UTI, Cold, Flu And Bronchitis

Horseradish is a potent root plant that gives a spicy kick to food and is packed with many health benefits. Horseradish has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, and scientific research backs up many of these therapeutic uses. Horseradish root is good to help cure sinus infections, alleviate congestion, and prevent urinary tract infections.


Most of the goodness in horseradish is in the root which looks like a white carrot. You can grate some horseradish root to spice up salads, make your own horseradish sauce by mixing grated horseradish with some vinegar and add it to your roasted vegetables or meat.

There are also many health benefits to eating horseradish leaves: putting horseradish leaves in a salad or eating them can boost your health because they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals.

In this article, I will look at what science says about the benefits to your health of consuming horseradish. At the end of the article you can find recipes containing horseradish.

What is Horseradish?

Horseradish (Cochlearia Armoracia or Armoracia Rusticana) is a root vegetable that tastes very pungent and spicy.

Horseradish consists of the root part and green leaves that have white flowers. The most popular way of consuming horseradish is prepared horseradish that is preserved in vinegar.

Horseradish is so hot and spicy because enzymes combine together when the root is chopped or grated. Enzymes such as myrosinase, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiin combine to create a type of hot mustard oil that has a pungent aroma and taste. (1)

The journal Biofactors reports that horseradish belongs to the same family as wasabi (Wasabi japonica). Scientists have found that these are functional foods which are full of antioxidants that promote good human health. (2)

Freshly grated or chopped horseradish doesn’t last a long time. If you want to use fresh horseradish for its health benefits, you should consume it immediately. You can also mix horseradish with some apple cider vinegar, water and some salt to taste and store in the fridge. This helps to make horseradish last longer.

Horseradish root, leaves and flowers

Horseradish root, leaves and flowers

Nutritional Value of Horseradish

Horseradish is an extremely nutritious root vegetable with spicy overtones. Adding freshly grated horseradish to your food will not only spice it up but also improve its nutritional content.

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Research into the nutritional benefits of horseradish root has found that it is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and isothiocyanates. These are enzymes that make horseradish root so hot and pungent. (3)

Horseradish contains minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and copper. (4)

There are also many vitamins in horseradish. One of the biggest benefits of eating fresh or prepared horseradish is that it contains high levels of vitamin C. The vitamin C content of horseradish can be up to 350 mg per 100 g of fresh horseradish root. (5)

However, horseradish leaves contain even higher levels of vitamin C. Scientists have found that the horseradish plant leaf contains a 4-fold higher content of vitamin C than the root.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one tablespoon of prepared horseradish contains 7 calories and 1.7 g of carbs. (15)

The root and leaves of horseradish contain a powerful antioxidant called ally isothiocyanate which is the hot component that develops when you grate horseradish. (2)

Can you use horseradish to help lose weight faster? Horseradish is naturally low in calories, and contains high amount of fiber. For example, a tablespoon (15 g) of horseradish contains 0.5 g of fiber which is 2% of your recommended daily fiber intake. (15)

The book Antioxidant Properties of Spices, Herbs, and Other Sources reports that the nutritional value of horseradish means that it is good for a number of medicinal uses. Horseradish is good for killing off microbes and germs and relieving muscle spasms. (3)

Why Is Horseradish So Good for You? Proven Benefits of Horseradish

What are the many reasons why it’s good to consume more horseradish in your diet? Let’s look in more detail at the benefits of horseradish root.

Horseradish Helps to Treat Sinus Infections

Horseradish contains antibacterial compounds that can help treat the symptoms of sinusitis.

Sinus infections cause inflammation and swelling in your forehead, under your eyes, and in your nasal passage. Sinusitis can be the result of the cold, flu, or allergic reactions. (6)

In one cohort study involving over 850 children, a natural remedy containing horseradish root helped to get rid of sinusitis quicker. The herbal horseradish remedy prevented the use of antibiotics to clear up the sinus infection. The researchers found that treating sinus infections with horseradish had fewer symptoms than with antibiotics. (7)

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Another great reason to use horseradish for a sinus infection is that it contains vitamin C and phenolic compounds. Many studies point to the fact that these antioxidants are necessary to strengthen your immune system to fight infections better. (8, 9)

Because horseradish is so good for loosening mucus blocking your sinuses, you can also use horseradish for treating colds and flu.

Learn more about the benefits of vitamin C and other antioxidants in helping to fight infection and stay healthy.

You can also find out other best natural remedies for treating infections like sinusitis.

Horseradish Extracts Can Help Cure Bronchitis

One of the horseradish root benefits is to get rid of congestion and clear respiratory infections.

Scientific research into the medicinal properties of horseradish has found that it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Researchers have found that the horseradish enzyme sinigrin creates the compound ally isothiocyanate. This compound is anti-inflammatory and the reason why horseradish is so spicy hot. (10)

Researchers say that the health-boosting effect of horseradish means that it is good for treating bronchial infections.

For example, scientific research has found that horseradish root extract blocks COX enzymes. COX-2 enzymes are often the cause of inflammatory responses in the body like bronchitis. Horseradish extracts act like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs that can help to treat the symptoms of respiratory infections. (11)

Find out more about some of the best foods to cleanse your lungs and prevent certain respiratory problems.

Horseradish Root Has Antibacterial Properties and May Clear Up Urinary Tract Infections

Horseradish is very good for women and men because it benefits your urinary system.

Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enter your urinary tract and cause symptoms like burning when you pee, smelly urine, and lower abdominal pain.

Scientists report that treating some urinary tract infections (UTIs) is becoming more challenging due to multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Research has shown that horseradish is good for treating UTIs. Lab trials have shown that horseradish extracts can help to destroy E. coli strains of bacteria and could be an alternative treatment for urinary tract infections. (12)

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Other studies have confirmed that a combination of the herb nasturtium and horseradish help to treat recurring UTIs in humans. (13)

Natural remedies containing horseradish powder may also help to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections in children. (14)

Learn about other home remedies that you can use to get rid of symptoms of a bladder infection or urinary infection.

Horseradish Can Reduce Joint Inflammation and Treat Muscle Pain

The medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties of horseradish mean that horseradish extracts are good for getting rid of pain.

Research published in 2015 found that compounds and enzymes in horseradish extracts help to block reactive oxygen species. These are enzymes connected to inflammation in the body. At the same time horseradish also stimulated certain compounds that help to reduce inflammation. (16)

Other studies have pointed to the fact that horseradish extracts act in a similar way to pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin. (10)

Find out how you can use horseradish as a spicy accompaniment to other foods that help to reduce inflammation.

Horseradish Can Help with Treating Water Retention

Compounds in horseradish root can help to reduce the buildup of excess fluid or edema in your body.

The reason that horseradish is good for treating water retention issues is due to the compound sinigrin. Researchers say that sinigrin is a sulfur-containing species that is abundant in horseradish and wasabi. (17)

Studies into sulfur-containing glucosinolates such as sinigrin have found that they can alleviate water retention (edema) due to consuming too much salt. (18)

Find out some of the many ways you can shed water weight naturally and prevent water retention.

Horseradish Acts as a Diuretic

Horseradish could be good to take if a buildup of fluid in your body leads to high blood pressure.

Diuretics help to pass more salt and urine from your body to help reduce edema. According to research, horseradish acts as a natural diuretic. Therefore, consuming more horseradish may help to prevent water retention and lower blood pressure. (3)

Horseradish Has Anticancer Properties

Many functional foods such as horseradish that contain sulfur compounds and antioxidants have therapeutic properties that are useful in treating cancer.

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that horseradish root extracts are COX inhibitors that inhibit the spread of tumor cells. Researchers have found that compounds in horseradish help to protect against colon cancer, lung cancer, and stomach cancer. (19)

Other studies have found that allyl isothiocyanate in horseradish has antioxidant and anticancer activity. These chemo-preventative compound can help to inhibit bladder cancer cell growth. (20)

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Of course, more research needs to be carried out to see how functional foods such as horseradish can help to prevent, treat, and cure cancer.

Benefits of Horseradish Leaves

Many people overlook the health benefits of consuming horseradish leaves. However, adding horseradish leaves to your meals can help to boost your immune system.

Horseradish leaf has a strong, peppery taste that can really add some spice to a delicious fresh vegetable salad if used in small amounts.

One of the reasons to consume horseradish leaves is that there is also a lot of vitamin C in the leaf.

Research has shown that young horseradish leaves have the highest vitamin C content. The vitamin C content of horseradish leaf is around 350 mg for every 100 g of fresh leaf. Leaves from the horseradish plant have 4 times the amount of vitamin C than the root. (5)

Side Effects of Horseradish

Most people can safely consume horseradish as an accompaniment to their meal.

Doctors from WebMD say that taking larger doses of horseradish is usually tolerable by most people. However, the spicy mustard oil in horseradish can cause digestive upset and irritation in the mouth and throat. (21)

If you have underlying digestive problems like inflammatory bowel disease or peptic ulcers, you should avoid horseradish as it may irritate your gastrointestinal tract.

Also, pregnant women or people with kidney problems should stay away from horseradish, horseradish extracts, or horseradish oil. This is because large doses of horseradish can cause miscarriage and make kidney problems worse.

Recommended Daily Intake of Horseradish

The German Commission E monograph (Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines) suggests an average daily intake of 1/2–1 teaspoon (3–5 grams) of the freshly grated horseradish three times per day. If used in amounts higher than recommended, horseradish can cause stomach upset, vomiting, or excessive sweating. (22)

Horseradish Recipes to clear your nose and chest

There are several ways to use horseradish, but my preference is to eat it raw and fresh: grate it and mix it with other healing ingredients, such as apple cider vinegar or honey.

It is important to consume horseradish fresh or it will lose its potency. Also, it’s best to use it raw, as cooking destroys some of its beneficial substances and takes away its signature refreshingly spicy taste.

To get a better idea about how to use horseradish, have a look at the recipes below. Also, we might sometimes be eating horseradish without even being aware. Did you know that ‘wasabi’ served in many sushi restaurants is in fact dyed horseradish? They taste similar and they both give you that famous kick, but horseradish is much easier to find compared to the scarce wasabi, so it’s often served to the unaware costumers.

Horseradish sinus plumber

Use a vegetable peeler to peel the surface skin off of the tuber and chop into small pieces.
Put into the food processor, add the water, the vinegar and the salt.
Process until well ground.

At the point you have to be extremely careful as the ground up fresh horseradish is many times as potent as chopped onions and it can seriously hurt your eyes if you get too close. Always keep an arm length away and work in a well ventilated area.

Store in a glass jar and eat 1/2–1 teaspoon (3–5 grams) three times per day. This is a seriously strong concoction which I’ve used myself and found it extremely effective. If you haven’t eaten horseradish before start with very small amounts as this is extremely strong and potent concoction.

It will keep 4-5 weeks in the refrigerator.

Horseradish guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium avocados
  • 4 tablespoons fresh grated horseradish
  • 1 medium lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mash the avocado. Add grated horseradish (peel before grating), lime juice and salt and pepper. Mash-up well, chill and serve as a dip. You can also add Greek yogurt to make it richer.

Horseradish tea

Ingredients (for 3 servings):

  • 10 grams fresh horseradish
  • 5 grams fresh ginger
  • 200 ml boiling water

Use horseradish and ginger to prepare this simple tea. Put them in a tea sieve or in a cup and pour the boiling water over. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes. Drink it three times a day, heated to a temperature of about 40 degrees Celsius.

Horseradish super concoction

Ingredients:

  • 1 large horseradish root (6 inches)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon honey (preferably raw, organic).

Grate fresh horseradish. Mix with lemon juice and honey and put into a jar. Seal the jar with an airtight lid and leave for 24 hours. Take 1 tablespoon of this powerful mixture 3 to 4 times per day. Don’t dilute with water. If it burns your throat and sinuses, this is a good indication that it’s working.

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23 Responses to Is Horseradish Good for You? Proven Health Benefits of Horseradish (Science Based)

  1. Shyamantika says:

    What is horse radish? Is it the White radishes available in India?

  2. charmaine says:

    Please show a picture of the horseradish,I suffer from terrible sinus problem,thanks

  3. Paul Soloka says:

    I went to to look for Horseradish but unfortunately could not get it instead I was shown White Radish. What is the difference between the two.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Paul, white radish is also called daikon from the Japanese name. Daikon and horseradish both belong to the same family (Brassicaceae family which also includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbage) but they are different species. You need the horseradish and not the daikon or “Japanese radish”.

    • Ron Salk says:

      That’s like asking what’s the difference between an apple and a peach, they’re just not the same thing.

  4. seema rajput says:

    Can u give me homeopathic name for horse raddish as me not getting it anywhere an how can i use it

    • Jenny says:

      The scientific name of horseradish is Armoracia rusticana or Cochlearia Armoracia. See more about it here. I struggled to find horseradish where I live, so I was able to get some root cuttings from a person in my neighborhood. I now grow it in my garden. It is very easy to grow and requires very little care.

  5. william says:

    Best place to find horseraddish is from any good green groser. Most restaurants use it. It is amazing with roasted or bbq meats

  6. Shel says:

    Just made myself the super strength concoction with fresh horse radish from the garden!

  7. Erfan Ali says:

    very informative n helpful article. Can anyone tells the native Indian name of horseradish. If am not wrong it’s name is “Kali gajar” and a drink known as ‘kanji’ is prepared with this using vinegar .

  8. tram nit says:

    horseradish is a malunggay in Philippines its leaves is d worlds most nutritious vegetable its roots good for sinus cure or to womens with delay menstruation (it will regulate menstruation).

    • LinRiv says:

      @tram tin, no horseradish is not the malunggay in the Philippines. Malunggay is moringa. You are right to say that its leaves are nutritious. Malunggay can grow into a tall tree but not horseradish. You can look at the foliage of the horseradish plant and see that it’s not malunggay leaves. I should know because I’m from the Philippines.

    • Adora says:

      Really horse raddish is the root of malunggay?

  9. Julius says:

    Can Horseradish be found in Nigeria

  10. Sheila says:

    I just used a horseradish spread you buy at the grocery store in a jar. It is helping in a matter of 3 days I am feeling Alot better. Nothing else was working as in medication or vitamins for inflammation. For 9 months I dealt with this. A friend told me she accidentally ate too horseradish spread that she tried and it cleared her sinuses instantly. I just went to the doctor today. They wanted to do nose surgery.I told them about this idea. They didn’t believe me.

  11. Emily says:

    Hi there – what about horseradish extract? Will it have the same benefits?

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      Hi Emily, it’s a good question which is hard to answer. Because it is not regulated by the FDA, it’s hard to know what exactly the extract contains. Each manufacturer can write on the product label things that may not match to the actual content. I also don’t know if the preparation of the extract retains all the nutrients. On the other hand, it’s often not easy to get a fresh root (where I live I couldn’t find it and I need to grow it in my garden), so you may not have other choice but to try the extract. Try to buy extract from a reputable manufacturer, read the product label and give it a try.

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