Armoracia rusticana(Horseradish)

Botanical Name ; Armoracia rusticana
Family: Brassicaceae– Mustard family
Genus: Armoracia G. Gaertn., B. Mey. & Scherb.– armoracia
Species: Armoracia rusticana G. Gaertn., B. Mey. & Scherb.– horseradish
Kingdom: Plantae– Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta– Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta– Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta– Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida– Dicotyledons
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order: Capparales

Synonyms: Armoracia armoracia. Armoracia rustica. Cardamine armoracia. Rorippa armoracia

Common Name :Horseradish

Habitat :Armoracia rusticana is native to Europe. Naturalized in Britain. It grows on arable land, waste ground and by streams, favouring slightly damp positions.

Description:
Armoracia rusticana is a perennial herb  growing to 2 to 2.5 feet and spreading 2.5 to 3 feet with dock-like, toothed, shiny, dark green leaves and insignificant, whitish flowers which appear in summer in terminal panicles. An extremely vigorous plant that crowds out most weeds and is itself weed-like, with a very spreading growth habit (particularly if the roots are not harvested every year)….click & see

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It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.

It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, horseradish prefers a good deep moist well-drained soil and a sunny position. Plants require a good soil if they are to produce good roots, though once established they are very tolerant of neglect and will continue to produce a crop for many years. Plants do not thrive if they are in the shade of trees. Excess nitrogen causes heavy top growth and forking of the roots. Prefers a wet clay soil according to one report, whilst another says that it will not grow in wet clay. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.8 to 8.3. Horseradish has long been cultivated for its root which is used as a food flavouring and medicinally, there are some named varieties. If the roots are given some protection they will produce fresh young leaves for the salad bowl all through the winter. Digging up some roots and putting them into a greenhouse for the winter is the easiest method. If the young shoots are blanched they will produce white, tender, sweet leaves. A very invasive plant, it is considered to be a pernicious weed in some areas. Even quite small sections of root will regrow if they are left in the soil. The plant has yet to prove invasive on our Cornwall trial grounds, though it has survived and even prospered in a very overgrown site. The forms of this plant grown in gardens are almost sterile and seldom produce good seed. This is a good companion plant for potatoes since it is said to deter potato eelworm and the Colorado beetle. One plant at each corner of the potato patch is quite sufficient. When grown under apple trees it is said to prevent brown rot, powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.

Propagation: Seed – this is seldom produced on plants in cultivation. If seed is obtained then it is best sown in situ during the spring. Division is very easy and can be carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best in spring. It s best to use sections of root about 20cm long, which can be planted out into their permanent positions in February or March, though even very small bits of root will grow away. Division should be carried out at least once every three years or the crop will deteriorate

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Young root – raw or cooked. The grated root is used to make the condiment ‘Horseradish sauce’, this has a hot mustard-like flavour. The sauce is best used uncooked or gently warmed, heating it will destroy the volatile oils that are responsible for its pungency. It is said that in Germany the roots are sliced and cooked like parsnips[183] – rather them than me!. The root is a rich source of sulphur. Fresh roots contain the glycoside sinigrin – this is decomposed in the presence of water by the enzyme myrosin, producing mustard oil which gives the root its hot flavour. The fleshy roots can be up to 60cm long and 5cm thick. The plant is fully hardy and can be left in the ground all winter to be harvested as required. Alternatively, the roots can be harvested in early winter and stored for later use, they will retain their juicy state for some time if stored in dry sand. Young leaves – raw or cooked. A very strong flavour, though nice when added in small quantities to the salad bowl. A pleasant mild flavour according to another report. Seeds – sprouted and eaten in salads.

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial;  Antirheumatic;  Antiseptic;  Aperient;  Digestive;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Rubefacient;  Stimulant.

Horseradish is a very pungent stimulant herb that controls bacterial infections and can be used both internally and externally. The plant is a powerful stimulant, whether used internally as a spur for the digestive system or externally as a rubefacient. It should not be used internally by people with stomach ulcers or thyroid problems. The roots are antiseptic, aperient, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, rubefacient and stimulant. They should be used in their fresh state. An infusion is used in the treatment of colds, fevers and flu and is of value in the treatment of respiratory and urinary tract infections. A sandwich of the freshly grated root is a traditional remedy for hay fever. A tea made from the root is weakly diuretic, antiseptic and expectorant. The plant is antibiotic against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria and also pathogenic fungi. It is experimentally antitumor. Externally, a poultice made from the roots is used to treat pleurisy, arthritis and infected wounds. It will also relieve the pain of chilblains. Some caution should be employed, however, because it can cause blistering. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Armoracia rusticana for internal & external use in catarrhs of the respiratory tract, internally as supportive therapy for urinary tract infections, externally for the hyperaemic treatment of minor muscles aches.

Other Uses :
Fungicide;  Repellent.

Horseradish tea is effective against brown rot of apples and other fungicidal diseases. The growing plant deters potato eelworm.

Known Hazards:
Large quantities of this plant can be poisonous due to its content of volatile oils. Traditional texts suggested possible thyroid function depression. Contraindicated with chronic nephritis, hepatitis, gastro-oesophageal reflux or hyperacidity conditions, and inflammatory bowel conditions. Avoid during pregnancy and lactation (moderate amounts with food ok)

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Armoracia+rusticana

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARRU4

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Armoracia_rusticana

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