Protects Against Microbes and Bacteria
The oil responsible for the pungent taste of horseradish, wasabi and mustard is called allyl isothiocyanate, or mustard oil. This colorless oil is a known antimicrobial against a wide spectrum of pathogens.
Many studies have demonstrated the profound antimicrobial and antibacterial capabilities of horseradish root.
There was a study conducted using horseradish essential oil to preserve roast beef and prevent spoilage. The beef with the added horseradish restricted the growth of most of the bacteria to prevent spoilage.
Horseradish root also has positive effects on phagocytes, which are a type of cell in the body that engulf and absorb bacteria. A study in mice showed it enhanced the antimicrobial functions of phagocytes to help to fight off infection and illness.
Reduces Symptoms of Respiratory Illness
Because of the antibiotic properties of horseradish, it has been used for many years in traditional medicine to treat bronchitis, sinusitis, cough and the common cold.
In a German study, an herbal drug containing the root was tested against conventional antibiotics. The incredible findings showed a comparable result in treating acute sinusitis and bronchitis with the natural extract when compared to conventional treatments.
With the many adverse effects associated with antibiotic treatments, these findings are very exciting. They also bolster the idea that more research is necessary to reduce antibiotic use and find natural cures for common illnesses.
The reality is that many antibiotics used to treat respiratory illness often aggravate the underlying cause and only suppress symptoms of the illness.
The pungent smell of this cruciferous vegetable also helps expel mucus from the upper respiratory system to prevent infection. When taking this root vegetable for sinus problems, it may feel like you are producing excess mucus, but this can actually be beneficial.
After a day or two, your body will start to rid itself of waste, which is a major step in preventing infection.
Helps Treat Urinary Tract Infections
Thanks to the ability of horseradish root to fight off microbes and bacterial growth, it’s also very successful in treating acute urinary tract infections better than conventional antibiotic treatments, which usually involve a number of unpleasant side effects. The glycoside sinigrin, which is also found in the root, is known to prevent water retention and act as a natural diuretic, which can help to prevent kidney and urinary tract infections.
The presence of allyl isothiocyanate, which is expelled via the urine and has proven anti-bladder cancer capabilities, may also aid in the infection-fighting properties of this root veggie.
Acts as a Digestive Aid
Horseradish contains enzymes that stimulate digestion, regulate bowel movements and reduce constipation. Bile helps rid the body of excess cholesterol, fats and other wastes, as well as support a healthy digestive system.
This root veggie is considered a cholagogue, which is a substance that stimulates the production of bile in the gallbladder to aid in digestion.
It also provides a small amount of fiber, which is very important for promoting digestive health and regularity. In fact, some research suggests that upping your intake of dietary fiber can protect against conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), diverticulitis and stomach ulcers.
Relieves Inflammation and Pain
Horseradish was used by people in Ancient Greece as a natural pain reliever to help alleviate back pain. It’s also been used in other types of traditional medicine to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with headaches.
Although more research is needed, horseradish is often applied topically for areas of the body with pain caused by injury, arthritis or inflammation. This may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties found within the many beneficial compounds it contains.
Low in calories but high in fiber, this flavorful condiment makes a great addition to your fridge if you’re looking to lose weight. Unlike other high-calorie or sugar-laden condiments like barbecue sauce, ketchup or salad dressings, horseradish can add a zip of flavor to your favorite foods without the guilt.