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 “meerrettichï” (sea radish) because it grows by the sea. The English are believed to have mispronounced the German word as “mareradish”. Eventually, it became known as horseradish.
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Commercial cultivation in America began in the mid-1850s when immigrants started Horseradish farms in the Midwest. By about 1860, it was being sold 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.
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Medicinally, Horseradish was used both internally and externally. Applied to the skin, it causes reddening and is 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 the 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:
Combine in a blender with 1/3 unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and 2/3-grain alcohol. Put the blender on high and turn the mixture into a smoothie. Use some immediately if you need to; place the rest into canning jars, keep them in a cool dark place, and shake once a day. Dosage: 1 ounce, two or more times daily, gargle and swallow.
This tonic can also be applied as above as a poultice.
Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988
Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, by James A. Duke, Pub. CRP Second Edition 2007
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Published by Dorling Kindersley