Horseradish, a healthy food with healing properties

For thousands of years “Rafano or Horseradish” has been known as a medicinal plant with extraordinary benefits. In the Italian spoken language there are various synonyms which refer to Horseradish, Cren or Barbaforte (literally StrongBeard) just to mention a few of them. There are many theories concerning the etymology of the term “Rafano”, but the one considered as mostly reliable affirms that it was called “Sea Radish” since it naturally grows near water.

It is a perennial herbaceous plant of the Brassicaceae family which is known as a weed plant due to its luxuriance. It is commonly grown for its yellow-whitish oblong and pulpy root.

The perennial root is long and has many cylindrical heads. In spring it grows big irregular and indented leaves which are about 50 to 70 cm long. At a later time, a peduncle grows up to 1 meter tall, then the plant blooms between the end of May and July.

From its roots you obtain the famous cren sauce, which is a delicacy for strong palates.

Horseradish healing properties

Its therapeutic properties are mentioned in its etymology which later on gave birth to the English term “Horseradish”. That’s because its root was given to old horses in order to reinvigorate them thanks to its pharmaceutical characteristics.

The main active substances of the Horseradish root are the intense glycols of the mustard oil. These glycols, which are released when the root gets grated, stimulate the tear ducts just like onions. Nevertheless, this substance, is great for human health since it is a strong antimicrobial. In addition, it is rich in glucosinolates and B1 and C vitamins.

It is, therefore, mandatory to mention that due to its chemical composition, Horseradish is largely employed as a natural remedy. It is, in fact, used to treat rheumatisms, bronchitis and respiratory distresses. Moreover, it is appropriate to stimulate diuresis, to treat urinary trait infections and to facilitate digestion. In terms of traditional medicine, it was used to treat alopecia and herpes related skin diseases.

On the contrary it has to be avoided by those who are affected by stomach problems, kidney problems and ulcers. For this reason, pregnant women should avoid horseradish consumption.

Horseradish and the culinary world

Considering the culinary world, grated Horseradish root is a renowned seasoning for meat and fish dishes. In addition, a sauce seasoned with Horseradish fits perfectly with smoked fish or roast beef. Horseradish is also a great side dish for sausages and meat-based dishes. The spicy root is also ideal for cheese-based dishes, such as the Swiss raclette, and to be mixed with Mayonnaise.

The bond between mayonnaise and horseradish gave birth to our Horseradish Mayonnaise, a delicacy with a strong character. It is the best match for raw veggies, boiled eggs and soft cheese.

Want to taste it? Come and visit Biobontà!

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