Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, Cochlearia armoracia)

background

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a hardy perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family, which includes mustard and cabbage. Large doses by mouth can cause gastrointestinal upset, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, and irritation of mucous membranes and the urinary tract. Horseradish may also provoke allergic reactions.
Although horseradish may be irritating, it is frequently used as a condiment or spice, especially for beef, sausages, and fish. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved horseradish (Armoracia lapathifolia Gilib.) as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) as a seasoning, spice, and flavoring (the FDA currently accepts Armoracia lapathifolia as the binomial name for horseradish, although Armoracia rusticana is more commonly used and is the preferred name by the U.S. Department of Agriculture).
Traditionally, horseradish has been used for pain, rheumatism, and cancer. It has also been studied for bronchitis, sinusitis, and urinary tract infections, but additional study is needed before making firm recommendations.

Related Terms

Allyl isothiocyanate, allylisothiocyanate, Armoracia lapathifolia Gilib., Armoracia rusticana, Armoracia rusticana Gaertner, Armoracia sativa Heller, Amoraciae Rusticanae Radix, Bohemian horseradish, Brassicaceae (family), Cochlearia armoracia, Cochlearia rusticana Lamarck, common horseradish, glucobrassicin, gluconasturtiin, glucosinolates, great raifort, horseradish peroxidase, horseradish peroxidase/indole-3-acetic acid, isoenzymes, isothiocyanates, Meerrettich (German), mountain radish, myrosinase, neoglucobrassicin, pepperrot, phosphatidylcholines, red cole, seiyowasabi (Japanese), sinigrin, thioglucoside conjugates, Western wasabi.
Note: This monograph does not include wasabi (Wasabia japonica), for which horseradish is a common substitute.
Note: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines horseradish as the root of Armoracia lapathifolia Gilib. This monograph uses the more common scientific name Armoracia rusticana, which is used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Bronchitis (Grade: C)
Horseradish may have antibiotic activity, and has been used in combination with other herbs to treat bronchitis. However, additional studies are needed that use horseradish as a single therapy before a strong recommendation can be made.
Sinusitis (Grade: C)
Horseradish may have antibiotic activity, and has been used in combination with other herbs to treat sinusitis. However, additional studies are needed that use horseradish as a single therapy before a strong recommendation can be made.
Urinary tract infection (Grade: C)
Horseradish may have antibiotic activity, and has been used in combination with other herbs to treat urinary tract infections. However, additional studies are needed that use horseradish as a single therapy before a strong recommendation can be made.