7 Proven Health Benefits of Horseradish

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

You are most likely familiar with horseradish as a spicy sauce served with roast beef or steak. Horseradish is perhaps a powerful plant with a tart flavor that showcases a wide variety of health benefits which may include its possible ability to boost immunity, support weight loss, improve digestion, and boost bone health.

A well-known condiment, horseradish packs a flavorful bite. It can be used as a condiment, by itself, and also as an ingredient in dressings and sauces. You may find prepared horseradish sauce readily available at the grocery stores, but you can also make your homemade version too.

What is Horseradish?

Horseradish or Armorica Rusticana is actually a member of the Brassicaceae family, which may indicate that it is closely related to wasabi, mustard, cabbage, and broccoli. It may be closer in application to wasabi and mustard because of the thick, white root plant cells releasing enzymes that can break down the sinigrin which may be found in the root. This is probably why horseradish is so popularly used as a spicy burst of flavor in a number of dishes or a lightly applied condiment to certain types of steak or roast beef sandwiches. [1] [2]

Horseradish is thought to have originated in Southern Europe and Western Asia, where it seems to have been referenced throughout history. The possible power and importance of this root seems to have been known for thousands of years and it is now available across the world. It is used mainly in culinary practices and may have some medicinal applications. Some of those plausible health benefits are urging more people to consume them around the world. Ironically enough, it can actually be poisonous to horses!

Fresh horseradish with leaves on a wooden chopper board

Horseradish is widely used as a condiment, by itself, and also as an ingredient in dressings and sauces. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Horseradish, prepared
Serving Size :
Water [g]85.08
Energy 48
Energy [kJ]201
Protein [g]1.18
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.69
Ash [g]1.76
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]11.29
Fiber, total dietary [g]3.3
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]7.99
Calcium, Ca [mg]56
Iron, Fe [mg]0.42
Magnesium, Mg [mg]27
Phosphorus, P [mg]31
Potassium, K [mg]246
Sodium, Na [mg]420
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.83
Copper, Cu [mg]0.06
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.13
Selenium, Se [µg]2.8
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]24.9
Thiamin [mg]0.01
Riboflavin [mg]0.02
Niacin [mg]0.39
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.09
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.07
Folate, total [µg]57
Folate, food [µg]57
Folate, DFE [µg]57
Choline, total [mg]6.5
Carotene, beta [µg]1
Vitamin A, IU [IU]2
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]10
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.01
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]1.3
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.09
12:0 [g]0
14:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.06
18:0 [g]0.02
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.13
16:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.13
20:1 [g]0
22:1 [g]0
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.34
18:2 [g]0.29
18:3 [g]0.05
Phytosterols [mg]9
Sources include : USDA [3]


  • In addition to its use as a spice, the horseradish root can also be used in traditional medicine for treating inflammatory diseases.
  • The horseradish plant can be used in industrial and medical applications.
  • The horseradish root is perhaps a rich source of active compounds that are used in diet as a condiment.
  • Horseradish root may be used for the treatment of bronchitis, acute sinusitis, and urinary bladder infection. [4]

Horseradish Nutrition Facts

The health benefits of horseradish can be mainly attributed to its high nutrient and mineral content, which may include dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and manganese. It seems to also contain an organic chemical composition of enzymes and oils, like sinigrin, a powerful glucosinolate. These components may work together to provide health benefits, which are explained below. [5]

Health Benefits of Horseradish

As we said, there are several ways horseradish can create wonders for your health. For more, you can read the health benefits of horseradish below:

May Boost Immunity

Horseradish is packed with potentially beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals. These compounds seem to have antioxidant characteristics that may boost the strength of the immune system and stimulate the activity and production of white blood cells, the body’s line of defense. The possible vitamin C content of this spicy root may also be high and thus might boost the strength of the immune system and join the defensive forces against free radicals. [6]

Might Aid In Weight Loss

Horseradish is likely to be low in calories, yet high on fiber, which may make this condiment a wise addition to your recipes if you are trying to lose some pounds. Unlike other high-calorie sauces and salad dressings, horseradish can add a dash of flavor to your favorite food without a pang of guilt. This may be due to the presence of mustard oil which is perhaps a powerful compound that may aid weight loss. This way, overeating can be reduced, and weight loss attempts may not be compromised. [7]

May Improve Digestion

Horseradish is valued for its potential medicinal properties as well as its taste. It is likely to be considered a cholagogue which is known to be an agent that spurs the release of bile from the gallbladder and can promote healthy digestion. However, to avoid adverse effects, it is advisable to consult a doctor before consuming horseradish. [8]

Can Improve Bone Health

Adding a significant amount of calcium to your diet can keep you stronger and younger, while maybe also reducing your chances of developing debilitating conditions like osteoporosis. Thankfully, there is a modest amount of calcium in horseradish, which forms an essential part of bone health, growth, and repair. Incorporating this into your diet may sustain your bone health. [9]

Potential Antibacterial Properties

Studies have shown that the potentially powerful, natural chemicals in horseradish can be a great defense against microbes and bacterial infections, including Listeria, E. coli, and Staphylococcus. The specific antibacterial component in it is called allyl isothiocyanate. [10]

Potential Diuretic Properties

Horseradish may have a diuretic quality that stimulates urination. This can be good for a number of reasons, which may include the regular release of toxins from the body, cleanliness of the kidney, and a possible reduction in weight since 4 percent of urine is likely to be actually composed of body fat! [11]

May Improve Respiratory Conditions

Taking a strong sniff or inhalation of pure horseradish may clear out congestion developed due to a cold, illness, or allergy. [12]

Word of caution: Horseradish is quite high in sodium and sugar. Although it may be usually consumed in small amounts, it is still important to remember that sodium can be detrimental to people struggling with hypertension and obesity. Also, horseradish can have a slightly diuretic quality, which can exacerbate problems for people with kidney disorders, and for those with peptic ulcers or inflammatory bowel disease, the intense power of horseradish can make these conditions worse.

Spread some horseradish sauce on your next sandwich, steak, or use it as a salad dressing and enjoy!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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