Horseradish - Penicilin from the garden

jowitt.europe Posts: 1,452 admin
edited October 2020 in Growing Medicinals

Today I feel like sharing with you my experience with Horseradish- Penicilin from the garden. Armoracia rusticana. My Number 1 “medicine” for digestion, especially when I can not fall asleep, because my stomach is too full, or because I have eaten something which is difficult to digest.

Horseradish does not mean that horses should eat it 🙂 Oh no! It means it is as strong as a horse. And it makes one as strong and healthy as a horse 😊

My favourite house medicine for digestion is horseradish tincture - or, rather a Digestive, because I make it in other proportions than a usual tincture. One finger thick , 10 cm long root would be enough for 1 Liter Digestive. I cut the root into 0,5 cm pieces, put into a bottle of Vodka or Kornschnaps. That’s it! I leave it there until the bottle is empty 😉. A liquor glass after a heavy meal does a trick. Or, when I cannot sleep, I just take a spoon of this medicine and it works!

I harvest roots in early spring and in autumn, when the leaves show the sign of dying. I dig out the roots, wash them well, clean and ... the rest, that I do not need for my Digestive I grate. One has to do grate it outside, otherwise one ends up weeping. The odour is so strong and sharp! I mix the grated horseradish with a little bit of vinegar and salt, close in small jars and I have enough until spring comes. If I lived somewhere where the soil does not freeze in winter, I would always have it fresh until spring.

One should have this “medicine” in the garden. Of course, if the climate is suitable for it. Plant it somewhere in a corner of the garden, because it spreads. But it is easy to keep it under control by regular harvesting. It is very easy to multiply just by planting a piece of root, the leftovers from the cleaned root.

Horseradish is an extremely useful and healthy plant. One can use it in the kitchen for meat and fish, for eggs and cheese, especially fresh cheese. I just put it on bread and butter to boost my immune system.

Horseradish contains many minerals and Vitamins like Vitamin C, B1, B2, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphor. It contains essential oil with mustard glycosides... Horseradish helps also to treat urine tract infections. It has diuretic, antiseptic, anti-fungal actions. And it helps to treat cough, sinusitis. In this case I mix horseradish with honey and have a teaspoon a day. 

Do not overdo! It is a very powerful plant! Too much can cause diarrhea, irritate the stomach. Be careful if you have ulcers. There are so many recipes where you mix it with beetroot, or cream, use in sauces and make it much milder. Stay healthy with horseradish!


  • naomi.kohlmeier
    naomi.kohlmeier Posts: 380 ✭✭✭

    Horseradish is one plant I've never grown. I will have to get some. I actually have some dried horseradish from I don't know when. It was my dads and he has been gone for 30 years. I'm thinking it is at least 40 years old if not more. I've never even opened the jar. Do you think it's still good?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    Great discussion on horseradish.

    My husband does the grating job for me when it is time for grating to make our favourite horseradish sauce or for fire cider. I can't even be in the house when he does it. Once it is grated, I come back in and take care of the rest of the processing. A roast of beef or bison is definitely not complete without horseradish. We also make a beet relish that has horseradish.

    Really good urinary tract disinfectant. Actually in a pharmaceutical for UTIs, Rasapen. Not sure if this drug is still available or not. Horseradish is amazing for cleaning out the sinuses. And very good at stimulating the digestion.

    You can use the young leaves as spring greens or put the older ones in a broth pot.

    Love horseradish!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,513 admin

    I am not a fan at all, but planted some anyway for use in fire cider.

    @torey what are the greens like in spring and in fall? Are they milder?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    @LaurieLovesLearning They have a bit of a bite, like mustard greens. So for spring greens I only use a couple of leaves per large salad. They get quite coarse as they age, so when they get bigger, I add them to broths, but only a couple of leaves per pot. For people who really like the taste of mustard greens, you could probably steam or braise the younger ones, but not for my taste buds.

  • Granny Marie
    Granny Marie Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    Grandmother used to grow some for Dad. Mom made him grind it in the garage. He would run it through the grinder and store it in a jar in the fridge. I never got enough nerve to taste it. I had always heard the only part you could eat was the stem. We were told the rest was poisonous.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,452 admin

    @naomi.kohlmeier 😊 I would open it. It is really interesting whether anything of its strength is still there after 30 years 😊

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,452 admin

    @torey I use horseradish leaves for fermenting cucumbers alongside with cherry leaves, black currant leaves and dill.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,452 admin

    @Marie Grace oh, it is definitely not poisonous. One can eat any part of it . It belongs to the family of Brassicaceae like cabbage, radish, broccoli... I know, when one learns something in childhood then it sticks so deep in us. I still do not collect some mushrooms even though I know that they are really good. The reason - my mother told me that they are poisonous 😊

  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 961 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for sharing! That's alot of useful info. I haven't used much horseradish before other than a bit when I make fire cider. I'll have to research this one some more. Always cool to learn about another plant :).

  • Angel
    Angel Posts: 61 ✭✭✭

    Great info. I have 1 horseradish plant in a pot. It's my first time growing it, and I'm looking forward to harvesting some.

  • burekcrew86
    burekcrew86 Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    What a great topic. I use horseradish in my fire cider but have never grown it myself. I just might have to try that one of these days.

  • Kelley
    Kelley Posts: 140 ✭✭✭

    I want to grow our own horseradish!

  • Annie Kate
    Annie Kate Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭

    We had it but got rid of it; maybe I should get some again. It's on my gardening to do list. Thank you @jolanta.wittib !

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    Cautions for those who are new to growing horseradish.

    When you dig it up, if you leave any (and I mean ANY) bits of root in the ground, it will regrow. Whatever you do, don't roto-till that area, or you will have horseradish everywhere.

    If you just leave it and never dig it up it will just keep getting bigger and bigger in diameter. I have one at the end of my driveway that has become a landscape plant and is 5 feet in diameter. I am not sure what the root would be like to use. I have heard that very old plants don't taste as good as younger ones.

    You can put it in a pot in the ground to help contain it but harvest it regularly or it will burst the pot. I have a friend who had hers in a metal wash tub and left it for a few years. It burst out of the tub (bottom and sides) and is now threatening one of the support posts for their carport.

    The hardiness zones for horseradish varies depending on the source but from what I can tell, most sites are saying that it will only grow to zone 4 at best. My friend with the burst pot is in zone 2b/3. I suspect it will grow almost anywhere.

  • Sharie
    Sharie Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    @torey I've "eliminated" horseradish multiple times. It's pretty much impossible so now I just keep two beds for that. It's easy to sell to local bars that use it in their Bloody Marys. It's not an item you will find in stores here in Ecuador so I'm happy to share the wealth once a year when I dig it up.

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    @jolanta.wittib Thank you so much for mentioning this! I had a sinus infection brewing and had forgotten about using horseradish to help knock it out. After the first dropperful of tincture, I felt much better. A second dropperful this morning sealed the deal. I may have a little tomorrow to make sure I don't have a relapse, but I'm feeling perfectly fine now.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    @Sharie Good to know it grows in the tropics as well.

  • John
    John Posts: 163 ✭✭✭

    Amazing! never to old to learn something new for sure. Keep them coming everyone.

  • This gets added to my list to grow now lol. I think I will plant it in a deep pot maybe? If I harvest regularly it should be okay I think. Never need to replant it then lol. But I frequently don't get things done when I plan so I'm not sure what will be best. My fibro kicks my butt at times, esp if I have something I need to do 😒

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,452 admin

    @seeker.nancy - Central Texas I harvest my horseradish twice a year: in spring, before the leaves come and in autumn, after the leaves are gone and I have no problems with it spreading. I choose the biggest roots and dig out those, which grow where I do not want to have them. As you say: if you harvest regularly, you will have no problem with it spreading.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We grew horseradish in Michigan, and I've been trying to get seeds to bring to SA with me. Thank you @Sharie for letting us know it does grow south of the border:)

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,452 admin

    @Tave if you find or get a root somewhere, you could plant it diagonally not too deep and it will grow and multiply. Even the rests of the root, leftovers, small parts would survive and flourish. It is a very robust plant.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,915 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I found some at my local Sprouts and it was sprouting so I planted it in a large bucket and it went crazy!

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jolanta.wittib Thanks for the information. I remember it being very robust. Unfortunately, I can't take live plant material through Customs, only seeds. It's a safety issue. They don't want to take a chance on spreading disease from other countries unintentionally. It is on my list of seeds to bring back on my next trip.

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