Horseradish Oil: Benefits, Usage, Properties, and Side Effects
The horseradish oil benefits have been known since historic times. Both its leaves and root were used in traditional medicinal system in the Middle Ages. (1)
The roots of horseradish were used as a flavoring agent on meats, especially in Scandinavia, Britain, and Germany.
Its popularity spread to North America only during the European colonialization. Thomas Jefferson & George Washington mentioned horseradish in their garden accounts.
On the other hand , horseradish essential oil is extracted from the roots of the horseradish plant. Though popular as a vegetable or a plant, not many are aware of its essential oil.
So, here is a detailed article explaining its benefits, usage, history, properties, and much more.
What is Horseradish Oil?
Horseradish essential oil is obtained from the edible roots of Cochlearia armoracia (also known as Armoracia rusticina) through steam distillation.
The plant of horseradish belongs to the Cruciferae family, which is also commonly known as the cabbage family, mustard family, or the crucifers. It is one of the most economically important families with about 4000 species.
Horseradish is native to Eastern Europe & Western Asia. The plant and the roots have been used for ages to treat various disorders. The plant is cultivated normally for its roots.
Horseradish roots are usually oil-rich. The fresh roots are subjected to the steam-distillation method.
In aromatherapy, horseradish oil is not considered safe for home practitioners. It should be used only after a prescription by a professional aromatherapist.
More than that, it is crucial you use it exactly in the way a therapist prescribes.
Scientific Name of Horseradish Oil
The botanical name of horseradish is Cochlearia armoracia, Armoracia rusticina.
History of Horseradish Oil
Horseradish plant has been known from ancient times. They have been cultivated for their roots and young leaves.
The natural philosopher, Pliny, The Elder, has mentioned about the medicinal values of horseradish way earlier. He also recommended the plant for many disorders.
In the middle ages, the roots of horseradish were used to treat cold. The plant was introduced to North America during the colonization period. The spicy taste of the root makes it a seasoning ingredient.
Traditionally, the roots have been used to ease back pain and rheumatism. It was also used to treat Urinary tract infections, respiratory disorders, toothache and flu.
The roots of this plant spread easily and it is often considered to be a problematic weed.
Color, Consistency, and Smell of Horseradish Oil
- The color of horseradish oil is pale yellow.
- The consistency of horseradish oil is thick.
- The smell of horseradish oil is pungent, spicy, earthy, and hot mustard-like aroma.
Properties of Horseradish Essential Oil
The therapeutic properties of Horseradish essential oil include:
- Analgesic – Reduces pain sensation
- Antibacterial – Prevents bacterial growth
- Anticatarrhal – Effective against catarrh
- Anticoagulant – Reduces blood clotting
- Antifungal – Prevents fungal growth
- Anti-infectious – Prevents infections
- Anti-inflammatory – Lessens pain, swelling, and redness
- Antimicrobial – Prevents the growth of microorganisms
- Antioxidant – Inhibits oxidation process
- Antiphlogistic – Acts against inflammation & fever
- Antiputrescent – Acts against putrefaction
- Antirheumatic – Heals rheumatic conditions
- Antiseptic – Kills the microbes and prevents their development
- Antispasmodic – Relieves spasms and convulsions
- Antitoxic – Neutralizes harmful toxins
- Antitussive – Cures coughs
- Antivenomous – Used against the effects of venom
- Antiviral – Prevents viral growth
- Aphrodisiac – Increases sexual desire
- Astringent – Contracts or tightens the tissues
- Balsamic – Soothes sore throats, coughs, etc.
- Calmative – Effective calming and sedative agent
- Carminative – Relieves flatulence, bloating, and abdominal pain
- Cholagogue – Removes bile from ducts and gall bladder
- Cicatrizing – Heals faster by promoting the formation of scar tissue
- Circulatory – Promotes blood flow
- Decongestant – Reduces congestion
- Depurative – Wonderful cleanser and detoxifier
- Diaphoretic – Promotes perspiration
- Digestive – Aids healthy digestion
- Disinfectant – Prevents germs from spreading
- Diuretic – Removes excess water from the body
- Expectorant – Removes mucus from the body
- Febrifuge – Antifebrile (anti-fever) agent
- Hepatic – Maintains a healthy liver
- Immunostimulant – Stimulates the action of the immune system
- Mucolytic – Breaks down mucus
- Nervine – Treats nervous disorders
- Pectoral – Treats chest & respiratory problems
- Regenerative – Tends to regenerate
- Restorative – Strengthens and revives the body system
- Sedative – Relaxes psychological & physical activity
- Spasmolytic – Eases smooth muscle spasms
- Stimulant – Increases the overall function of the body
- Stomachic – Keeps your stomach healthy
- Sudorific – Promotes perspiration
- Thermogenic – Stimulates heat production
- Tonic – Restores the bodily functions
- Vasodilatory – Promotes the dilation of blood vessels
- Vulnerary – Heals wounds & sores upon external application
Chemical Compounds in Horseradish Oil
The chemical compounds in horseradish essential oil include:
Allyl isothiocyanate (44.3–55.7%), 2-Phenylethyl isothiocyanate (38.4–51.3%), 4-Pentenyl isothiocyanate (0.6–4.0%), 2-Butyl isothiocyanate (0–2.7%), and Allyl thiocyanate (1.6–2.5%).
Health Benefits of Horseradish Oil
- Alleviates pain
- Aids in weight loss
- Treats cold and cough
- Detoxifies the body
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases immunity
- Promotes hair growth
- Treats bronchitis
- Heals wounds & cuts
- Kills insects
Though horseradish oil benefits are abundant, the most noteworthy ones that have been demonstrated by various studies include:
1. Alleviates pain
Aches and pains are common. Backaches especially are caused due to various reasons. The main reasons could be overstraining the muscles and ligaments. Long stretches, a sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, obesity, and lifting heavy objects cause your muscles to strain.
However, essential oils provide relief to back pain but the preventive measure is to strengthen your stomach muscles. Exercise and stretching are so crucial for those with poor posture.
People have used horseradish roots to alleviate pain for years. (6)
When horseradish oil is mixed with oils like Tea tree or Eucalyptus, it exhibits high analgesic and antinociceptive properties. It is also said that Allyl isothiocyanate, a compound present in the horseradish oil is attributed to its pain relief properties. (7)
2. Aids in weight loss
Overeating and a sedentary lifestyle are the two most major reasons for obesity. If you meet an Ayurveda expert, he or she would first advise you to eat only when you are hungry.
The second advice he or she would give is to eat to fill just half of your stomach, even if you are hungry.
Third, he or she would tell you not to drink water 30 minutes before and after your meals. These three practices are enough to see a huge difference the way your body functions.
Fat deposits are the greatest enemies. Diluted horseradish oil is believed to aid in weight loss when massaged. The compounds Allyl isothiocyanate and 2-Phenylethyl isothiocyanate are associated to this benefit. (8).
3. Treats cold and cough
Horseradish oil has a pungent, spicy, and mustard-like odour. Its aromatic compounds are actually great for decongesting phlegm.
The antimicrobial, anti-infectious, and anti-inflammatory properties of horseradish oil helps in treating infections in the respiratory tract.
A few anecdotal evidence pieces prove that inhaling the aroma of horseradish oil helps to breathe easily during congestion. It is also believed to be a great remedy for cold and flu. (9).
4. Detoxifies the body
A human body deals with loads of chemicals on a daily basis. It is necessary to detox your body regularly.
Horseradish root extracts and its oil are an excellent diuretic. It is believed that topical application of horseradish oil removes excess water from the body.
It increases the frequency of urination and expels excess water, sodium, uric acid, and fat from the body. In Ayurveda, the process of removing excess water from the body is called Kapha dosha, which also aids in weight loss (10).
5. Lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension, in most cases, occurs with no apparent cause. It can even go unnoticed for many years and may lead to stroke or heart failure.
A patient with elevated blood pressure levels should concentrate on managing his or her stress levels.
Optimal exercise and a healthy diet are crucial. People with Potassium deficiency is one of the causes of hypertension.
Your body evolves, as time passes. It is not the same as it used to be. As you age, you will experience changes in your immunity levels too. However, the antioxidants in horseradish oil help to scavenge free radicals and the damage caused by it.
The antioxidant property and Vitamin C in horseradish oil help in stimulating the WWBC (White Blood Cells) in the body.
7. Promotes hair growth
Hair fall or alopecia is one of the common problems faced by both men and women. It is believed that horseradish oil stimulates collagen production in the body. (15)
In addition, horseradish oil helps you to grow thick hair because it stimulates blood circulation throughout the scalp.
Improved blood circulation stimulates follicle stimulation. However, we do not recommend you to use the oil on your scalp unless recommended by a doctor or a professional aromatherapist.
8. Treats bronchitis
Bronchitis is the inflammation of bronchi or the air passages in the lungs. It is commonly caused by a viral or bacterial infection, but most commonly by viral.
The inflammation may be acute or chronic. Horseradish oil is known for its bactericidal property. The oil also helps to decongest the phlegm formed and aids you to breathe easily.
The compounds allyl isothiocyanate and 4-Pentenyl isothiocyanate are associated with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of horseradish oil.
9. Heals wounds and cuts
Horseradish extracts have been used to treat wounds for many years. The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the oil help to speed up the healing process.
What its poultice or diluted oil is applied on the wounds or cuts, it increases blood circulation surrounding the affected region, which in turn, enhances the healing process. In addition, the oil protects the wounds from infections. (18)
10. Kills insects
If you are someone looking for natural insect repellents, essential oils are the best choice.
Among many essential oils with insect repellent and insecticidal properties, horseradish is worth mentioning.
The compound allyl isothiocyanate present in it exhibits higher insecticidal property. However, it may cause eye or skin to irritate. You should be cautious about the place where you use the oil or consult with a doctor first. (19).
What Blends with Horseradish Oil?
Horseradish oil blends the best with:
- Basil oil
- Bergamot oil
- Black pepper oil
- Clary sage oil
- Cypress oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Geranium oil
- German chamomile oil
- Grapefruit oil
- Lavender oil
- Marjoram oil
- Lemon oil
- Orange oil
- Peppermint oil
- Patchouli oil
- Pine oil
- Roman chamomile oil
- Petitgrain oil
- Rosemary oil
- Sage oil
- Tea tree oil
- Thyme oil
- Sandalwood oil
How To Use Horseradish Oil?
Horseradish essential oil is studied to be toxic in some cases. Lack of evidence makes it very difficult to comprehend the appropriate usage.
It is always better to use the oil under the guidance of an experienced and professional aromatherapist.
- Topical Application: Any essential oil, when used correctly, can serve its purpose well. It is in your hand to use the oil efficiently. Make sure you always use Horseradish oil in right dilution. Since horseradish oil is not recommended for home practitioners, apply the oil as prescribed by your Physician or therapists. Also, be careful about the place where you use the oil.
- Aromatherapy: It would help if you use only vaporizer or diffuser to diffuse the oil for its aroma. Do not diffuse the oil in a congested place. Also, it is highly recommended to use the oil in a minimum quantity.
- Ingestion: Horseradish oil is UNSAFE in more substantial amounts and when consumed. DO NOT CONSUME HORSERADISH ESSENTIAL OIL.
Side Effects of Horseradish Oil
- As discussed earlier, Horseradish essential oil is considered toxic by some researchers. Hence, you should be cautious while using it.
- It is studied to cause skin irritation, allergies, and inflammation.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using oil.
- Use it only if a professional aromatherapist prescribes it.
- Keep the oil away from the reach of children.