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What Is Horseradish Used for Today?
There are no scientific studies of horseradish that have attained even the minimum level of scientific reliability. Only double-blind, placebo-controlled studies can show a treatment effective, and no such studies of horseradish taken by itself have yet been reported. (For information on why such studies are essential, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-Blind Studies? )
Germany’s Commission E has approved horseradish for supportive treatment of urinary tract infections as well as for treatment of respiratory infections such as acute bronchitis , colds , sore throat , and sinusitis ; however, this approval is more on the base of tradition than science.
Test tube studies performed in the 1950s indicated that horseradish essential oil has antimicrobial properties. 1 However, it is a very long way from test tube studies to actual efficacy in people; virtually all essential oils have antimicrobial properties in the test tube, but none have gone on to show value as antibiotics.
Constituents of horseradish essential oil include the substance families glucosinolate, gluconasturtiin, and sinigrin. These and similar substances are also found in the plant nasturtium. A preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2007 found some evidence that a standardized combination of nasturtium and horseradish might prevent new bladder infections among people with a history of recurrent bladder infections. 2 This study, however, suffered from numerous problems in design and statistical analysis. An even less reliable human trial found weak evidence that this combination could be helpful for children with sinusitis, bronchitis, or urinary tract infections. 3
- Kienholz M. Studies of antibacterial substances from horseradish ( Cochlearia armoracia ), nasturtium ( Tropaeolum maius ) and garden peppergrass ( Lepidium sativum ). Arch Hyg Bakteriol. 1957;141:182-197.
- Albrecht U, Goos KH, Schneider B. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a herbal medicinal product containing Tropaeoli majoris herba (Nasturtium) and Armoraciae rusticanae radix (Horseradish) for the prophylactic treatment of patients with chronically recurrent lower urinary tract infections. Curr Med Res Opin. 2007 Aug 24. [Epub ahead of print]
- Goos KH, Albrecht U, Schneider B. [On-going investigations on efficacy and safety profile of a herbal drug containing nasturtium herb and horseradish root in acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis and acute urinary tract infection in children in comparison with other antibiotic treatments] Arzneimittelforschung. 57(4):238-46.