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.
Armoracia rusticana P. Gaertn. et al. (Brassicaceae)
How is this product usually used?
The fresh or dried root of horseradish is taken by mouth. The usual doses are:
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:
Horseradish have also been used in combination with other herbs to treat bronchitis, sinusitis, and urinary tract infections. However, there is very little reliable data on the use of horseradish in humans and more studies are needed to confirm the effectiveness of horseradish.
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 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.
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.
The following medications may be affected by horseradish:
- ASA (Aspirin®)
- antiplatelets (e.g., clopidogrel, dipyridamole, ticlopidine)
- blood pressure medications
- diureticdiuretican agent that increases urine flows (e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide)
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen)
- thyroid medication (e.g., levothyroxine)
- blood thinners (e.g., warfarin, heparin)
- agents with cholinergic or anticholinergic effects (e.g., atropine, pyridostigmine)
Horseradish may also affect herbs with blood-thinning properties, such as:
- panax ginseng
- red clover
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 2 July 2014)
- 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#common-list (Accessed 2 July 2014).