large horseradish plant in a gardenThere are so many benefits of horseradish for your health that I wasn’t even aware of. When I think of horseradish, I think of the root ground up to make a prepared condiment for roast beef. But it’s so much more than that, besides being used as a spice, horseradish root is also used for treating inflammatory diseases, protecting against cancer, urinary tract infections and more. Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a perennial plant belonging to the Brassicaceae family that also includes broccoli, cabbage and mustard. Horseradish has been cultivated for thousands of years for use as spice and medicine.

Horseradish gets its pungent smell and zesty taste from compounds called isothiocyanates, which have strong antioxidant properties that can help prevent different types of disease by combating inflammation.

The root is an excellent source of vitamin C, a potent natural water-soluble antioxidant that helps your body develop resistance against bacteria and viruses. It also eliminates cancer-causing free radicals in your body.

The root is rich in several nutrients:

  • Calcium
  • Dietary fiber
  • Folate
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc

Cancer Fighting Properties

There’s been numerous studies done, including this one from the University of Illinois, that have shown this root  helps make the human body more resistant to cancer.  The glucosinolates are the cancer fighting compounds that  increase the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogens and may suppress the growth of tumors.

Other cruciferous vegetables also contain these compounds but horseradish has up to 10 times more glucosinolates than broccoli.

Antimicrobial Properties

The compound in horseradish, Allyl isothiocyanate, has potent antimicrobial properties which helps defend your body from multiple bacterial infections including Staphylococcus aureus, E.Coli, Helicobacter pylori, and Salmonella. Studies have also shown that horseradish can help treat other types of infection including yeast infections like Candida albicans.

Reduces Symptoms of Respiratory Illness

The antibiotic and antibacterial properties of horseradish, has made it a go to for many years in traditional medicine to treat bronchitis, sinusitis, cough and the common cold. Another great reason to use horseradish for a sinus infection is that it contains vitamin C and phenolic compounds. These antioxidants are necessary to strengthen your immune system to fight infections better. Just a teaspoon of this will clear your sinuses!

One obvious benefit of this root is that it can help relieve congestion both in your chest and sinuses. It has expectorant and anticatarrhal properties, meaning it encourages a productive cough and thins mucus.

Helps Treat Urinary Tract Infections

This root has the ability to fight off microbes and bacterial growth, so it’s very successful in treating acute urinary tract infections better than conventional antibiotic treatments.

The glycoside sinigrin and the compound allyl isothiocyanate found in the root, are known to prevent water retention and acts as a natural diuretic. This helps to prevent kidney and urinary tract infections allowing the liver to eliminate the bacteria responsible for infections.

How To Prepare

The root is typically grated and preserved in vinegar, salt, and sugar for use as a condiment. This is known as prepared horseradish. You can buy the root in your produce section of the grocery store. If you would like to make your own prepared horseradish, I’ve included an easy recipe.

Prepared Horseradish Recipe

Makes: 1 1/4 cups


  • 1 tablespoon water, more if needed


  • Using a food processor, process the root, water and salt so its finely ground. Add another tablespoon of water as needed.
  • Add the vinegar.
  • If you want a milder preparation, add the vinegar within 1 minute, if you want it hotter wait 3 minutes then add the vinegar.*
  • Carefully remove the cover of the processor, keeping your face away from the container.
  • Using a spatula, fill your jars.
  • Cover and store the horseradish in the refrigerator or the freezer.

*Vinegar neutralizes the heat producing enzymes. This is why it’s important to add the vinegar according to whether you want it mild or hot.

Now that you have made this, you can also make a creamy sauce which adds mayonnaise or sour cream to it.

Horseradish is often confused with wasabi, another pungent condiment that’s common in Japanese cooking. This is because the “wasabi” you get at most Japanese restaurants is really horseradish paste mixed with green food coloring.

True wasabi (Wasabia japonica) comes from an entirely different plant and is said to have an earthy taste. It’s  green in color instead of white.

Now that you know about all the health benefits of this amazing herb and how to prepare it, will you give it a go?