A sturdy, long-lived perennial whose long fleshy taproot grows many rootlets, each of which is capable of growing independently. It spreads steadily in sun or part shade. Roots grow best in rich, moist soil that has been deeply cultivated. Plants grow 2 feet tall.
Traditional Healing Uses: Spicy, vitamin C-rich horseradish root has been used freshly grated or as a tea to remedy colds, flu, sinus congestion, kidney ailments, digestive problems, urinary tract infections, rheumatism, dropsy, gout, and dental plaque. Horseradish syrup – grated root, honey, and water – has been used to relieve hoarseness, coughs, and asthma. Externally, grated horseradish root poultices and compresses have been applied to aching joints, rheumatism, gout, sciatica, swelling, neuralgia, bronchitis, chilblains, and mild frostbite.
Other uses: Horseradish sauce is delicious with fish, beef, chicken, eggs, potatoes, and beets. A few fresh new leaves make a mildly spicy addition to salads or steamed greens. Gardeners plant horseradish as a companion plant for potatoes.
Harvest: Leave roots in the ground until needed, or dig them in late fall, clean, and store in wet, cool sand. Cold weather sweetens root flavor. Rootlets will stay in the garden and give rise to new plants the next year.
Preparation: Mix grated root with vinegar or mayonnaise and eat as a condiment. For tea, pour boiling water on 1 teaspoon of grated root and let steep 10-15 minutes. Take 3 times a day.
Caution: Eating too much horseradish root at once can cause diarrhea and excessive sweating. External use may cause skin blisters.