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Horseradish

Horseradish

Uses

Botanical names:
Cochlearia armoracia

Parts Used & Where Grown

Horseradish likely originated in Eastern Europe, but today it is cultivated worldwide. The root is used as both food and medicine.

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Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Bronchitis
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Horseradish contains substances similar to mustard, such as glucosinolates and allyl isothiocynate.2 In addition to providing possible antibacterial actions, these substances may also have expectorant (mucus-expelling) properties that are supportive for people with bronchitis.
1 Star
Common Cold and Sore Throat
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Elderberry has shown antiviral activity and thus may be useful for some people with common colds. Elder flowers are a traditional diaphoretic remedy for helping to break fevers and promote sweating during a cold. Horseradish has antibiotic properties, which may account for its usefulness in easing throat and upper respiratory tract infections. The resin of the herb myrrh has been shown to kill various microbes and to stimulate macrophages (a type of white blood cell). Usnea has a traditional reputation as an antiseptic and is sometimes used for people with common colds.

1 Star
Sinusitis
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Horseradish is another herb used traditionally as a mucus-dissolver.3 One half to one teaspoon (3–5 grams) of the freshly grated root can be eaten three times per day. Horseradish tincture is also available. One quarter to one half teaspoon (2 to 3 ml) can be taken three times per day.

1 Star
Urinary Tract Infection
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The volatile oil of horseradish has been shown to kill bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections.4 The concentration that is required to kill these bacteria can be attained in human urine after oral ingestion of the oil. One early study found that horseradish extract may help people with urinary tract infections.5 Further studies are necessary to confirm the safety and effectiveness of horseradish in treating urinary tract infections.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Horseradish, known for its pungent taste, has been used as a medicine and condiment for centuries in Europe. Its name is derived from the common practice of naming a food according to its similarity with another food (horseradish was considered a rough substitute for radishes).

Horseradish was utilized both internally and externally by European herbalists. Applied to the skin, it causes reddening and was used on arthritic joints or irritated nerves. Internally, it was considered to be a diuretic and was used by herbalists to treat kidney stones or edema . It was also recommended as a digestive stimulant and to treat worms, coughs , and sore throats .1

How It Works

Botanical names:
Cochlearia armoracia

How It Works

Horseradish contains volatile oils that are similar to those found in mustard. These include glucosinolates (mustard oil glycosides), gluconasturtiin, and sinigrin, which yield allyl isothiocynate when broken down in the stomach. In test tubes, the volatile oils in horseradish have shown antibiotic properties, which may account for its effectiveness in treating throat and upper respiratory tract infections.6 At levels attainable in human urine after taking the volatile oil of horseradish, the oil has been shown to kill bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections 7 and one early trial found that horseradish extract may be a useful treatment for people with urinary tract infections.8 Further studies are still necessary, however, to confirm horseradish’s safety and effectiveness in treating urinary tract infections.

How to Use It

The German Commission E monograph suggests an average daily intake of 4 teaspoons (20 grams) of the fresh root for adults.9 Alternatively, 1/2–1 teaspoon (3–5 grams) of the freshly grated root can be eaten three times per day. Horseradish tincture is also available and is sometimes taken at 1/2–3/4 teaspoon (2–3 ml) three times daily. 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.

Interactions

Botanical names:
Cochlearia armoracia

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Cochlearia armoracia

Side Effects

If used in amounts higher than recommended, horseradish can cause stomach upset,10 vomiting, or excessive sweating. Direct application to the skin or eyes may cause irritation and burning. Horseradish should be avoided by people with hypothyroidism , gastritis , peptic ulcer disease , and kidney disorders. Horseradish should not be used by women during pregnancy or breast-feeding or by children under four years of age.11

References

1. Grieve M. A Modern Herbal, vol 2. New York: Dover Publications, 1971, 417–9.

2. Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinkman J, eds. Herbal Medicine: The Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000, 205–7.

3. Mills S, Bone K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. London: Churchill Livingstone, 2000, 21.

4. Kienholz VM, Kemkes B. The anti-bacterial action of ethereal oils obtained from horse radish root (Cochlearia armoracia L.). Arzneimittelforschung 1961;10:917–8 [in German].

5. Schindler VE, Zipp H, Marth I. Comparative clinical investigations of an enzyme glycoside mixture obtained from horse radish roots (Cochlearia armoracia L). Arzneimittelforschung 1961;10:919–21 [in German].

6. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 207.

7. Kienholz VM, Kemkes B. The anti-bacterial action of ethereal oils obtained from horse radish root (Cochlearia armoracia L.). Arzneim Forsch 1961;10:917–8 [in German].

8. Schindler VE, Zipp H, Marth I. Comparative clinical investigations of an enzyme glycoside mixture obtained from horse radish roots (Cochlearia armoracia L). Arzneim Forsch 1961;10:919–21 [in German].

9. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 150.

10. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 150.

11. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 150.

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