HORSE RADISH, Cochleria armoracia
The spice herb horseradish that helps our digestion and makes our foods taste better, was first used as a medicinal herb. It was discovered as a wild root about two thousand years ago in Eastern Europe or Russia. From that time until about three hundred years ago, no sensible person would think of eating that awful smelling white root that makes your nose burn and your eyes water.
For many centuries, horseradish was used as a medicinal herb for healing the body. However, once a man started cultivating the horseradish root and got it calmed down just a little, people started to eat it and used it as a condiment to spice up foods.
My fondest remembrance of horseradish was once at a family dinner a few years ago at my in-laws’ place. At a previous dinner, everyone had agreed how wonderful horseradish was, especially on roast beef. At this particular dinner, my mother-in-law made sure there were plenty of roast beef and plenty of horseradish.
As I recall, there were many different brands of horseradish there on the table. There was regular horseradish, there was horseradish in bottles, and there was horseradish in jars in different combinations. There was mild, there was kind of hot, there was regular hot, then there was real hot, and then there was on they should have named “I DARE YOU!”
As the dinner wound down, everyone was trying to make sure that everyone had tried every different kind of horseradish sauce. As it ended up, there was a contest between the brothers-in-law and the horseradish sauce that should have been called “I DARE YOU.” Everyone’s eyes were running and everyone’s nose was burning. Some worried that there would be a lot of stomach trouble. However, no one complained of having an upset stomach or any kind of a stomachache. The report was that everyone slept well and had good digestion and the meal tasted great. However, horseradish is strong stuff, so eat it with a meal and use moderation in all things.
Some reports I have read said that horseradish is effective for promoting stomach secretions. It is used as a digestive agent, and will help a stomach that has digestive problems. Maud grieve said, “When horseradish is taken with oily fish or rich meat, either by itself or steeped in vinegar or in a plain sauce, it acts as an excellent stimulant to the digestive organs, and as a spur to complete digestion.” Perhaps the most recommended medicinal use of horseradish is as a diuretic. It has been used to help remove kidney stones, to help with problems of albumin in the urine. Some say it will help to remove fluid from the tissue if a person has edema or dropsy. It has been recommended for gout, and to help remove the toxins that have accumulated in the big toe.
Some old herbals say that horseradish is a tremendous stimulant. It said to help those who have a belly ache or who need to sweat. It is used in a poultice for those with lumbago, for those who have a sciatic pain or back pain, or if one has neuralgia. Poultices are also used for those whop have pulmonary complaints like bronchitis, whooping cough, weak chest or wheezing. The horseradish is a perennial plant that grows about two feet high. Most of the leaves grow out of the root instead of a stalk. The leaves can be gathered, steamed and eaten as a pot herb in the spring. The plant usually grows from root cuttings. These cuttings are planted about a foot deep and two feet apart. When you buy a root, cut off the crown or the top of the root and the tip of the root and plant them. The root will last for three or four months in your fridge crisper bin. Cut small slices off the root and put them in the blender with apple cider vinegar. Make your own sauce.
Learn to use horseradish; you’ll be glad you did.