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Horseradish, a resilient perennial plant native to eastern Europe and western Asia, belongs to the same family of plants as mustard and cabbage. It is widely known for its pungent taste and is commonly used as a seasoning, spice, or flavouring. The active ingredients that give horseradish its medicinal properties come from the root.
How is this product usually used?
The fresh or dried root of horseradish is taken by mouth. The usual doses are:
- fresh or dried root: 20 g per day
- infusioninfusionthe process of steeping or soaking plant material in hot or cold water to isolate its active ingredient: immerse 2 g of root in 150 mL of boiling water for 5 minutes, take several times per day
- tincturetincturea desired active ingredient that is extracted from alcoholic solution: 2 g to 4 g dried equivalent per day
- syrup: steepsteepTo soak an agent (such as tea) to extract its active ingredient 2 g of root in 150 mL of boiled water for 2 hours and strain. Then add 150 g of sugar to thicken the liquid.
Horseradish should not be used for children younger than 4 years old.
What is this product used for?
Horseradish has been traditionally used in herbal medicine to:
- aid digestion
- act as a diureticdiuretican agent that increases urine flow (an agent that increases urine flow)
Horseradish has also been taken by mouth in combination with other herbs to treat bronchitis, sinusitis, and urinary tract infections. Horseradish has been applied to the skin for minor muscle pain, or joint/tissue inflammation. However, there is very little reliable data on the use of horseradish in humans and more studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness.
Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What else should I be aware of?
Few side effects are linked to horseradish when it is taken in small doses. Side effects of horseradish can include irritation and burning of the mouth, throat, and stomach. Fresh horseradish can also cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction on contact or if inhaled.
Horseradish in large doses taken orallyorallyto be taken by mouth (swallowed) can cause stomach upset, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, and irritation to the urinary tract. See your doctor if you have heartburn or if you are taking antacids.
Theoretically horseradish may lower blood pressure and should be used with caution if you have low blood pressure or are taking medications that can lower blood pressure.
Horseradish may also affect thyroid hormone levels in the blood. See your doctor if you have a thyroid condition or if you are taking thyroid replacement medications.
Horseradish used topicallytopicallyto be applied on the skin can cause irritation, blistering or allergic reaction.
The following medications may be affected by horseradish:
- blood pressure medications
- diureticdiuretican agent that increases urine flows (e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide)
- thyroid medication (e.g., levothyroxine)
- agents with cholinergic or anticholinergic effects (e.g., atropine, pyridostigmine)
You should avoid horseradish if you are pregnant, have stomach or intestinal problems (e.g., ulcers, stomach inflammation), or have kidney disease. Do not use horseradish if you are allergic to it or to any plants from the Brassicaceae family.
Horseradish in large amounts may be unsafe during breast-feeding. See your doctor prior to taking horseradish if you are breast-feeding.
Contact your doctor if any of the symptoms or conditions being treated by horseradish persist or worsen.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist or other health care provider. Tell your health care practitioner about any natural health products you may be taking.
- Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products. Horseradish. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=119&lang=eng (Accessed April 10 2017)
- Horseradish. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Available: http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=&s=ND&pt=100&id=257&fs=ND&searchid=29066521 (Accessed 24 August 2011)
- Horseradish monograph. National Standard Database. Available: http://naturalstandard.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/databases/herbssupplements/horseradish.asp (Accessed 2 July 2014).
- Horseradish. Lexicomp. Available: http://online.lexi.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/lco/action/doc/retrieve/docid/fc_rnp2/3750195. Accessed Aril 10 2017
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