New Zealand Horseradish – a powerful winter immune tonic!

NZ Horseradish – a powerful winter immune tonic!

Phytomed website - July Blog-655

 Posted: July 2020
Author: Phil Rasmussen |  M.Pharm., M.P.S., Dip. Herb. Med.; M.N.I.M.H.(UK),  F.N.Z.A.M.H. 

New Zealand grown horseradish is a great ingredient to include in a winter immune tonic, especially this year where protection against unpleasant inflammatory conditions of the upper respiratory tract is more needed than ever.

Traditionally used for coughs and colds for centuries in Europe and parts of Asia, horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) root contains glucosinolates (‘mustard oil glycosides’) which break down to release volatile and highly bioactive compounds known as isothiocyanates.  These act as natural expectorants to encourage mucus elimination, as well as having warming and invigorating actions that can improve the body’s natural defences against unwanted bugs.

Recent research has suggested a link between horseradish’s ability to protect cells against death induced by oxidative stress, with its antimicrobial activities (1). Diverse anti-inflammatory effects have been reported including reduced nitric oxide, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 release and nitric oxide synthase and COX-2 expression (1-4).

Horseradish has antibacterial actions against a wide range of pathogenic organisms (5-9), and clinical studies using a combination of horseradish root with nasturtium herb, found it to have comparable efficacy to antibiotics in the treatment of acute sinusitis and acute bronchitis (5).

Collectively, the portfolio of pharmacological actions shown by horseradish and its affinity for lung conditions in particular, make it a valuable team player to optimise immunity and lung health, during 2020.


  1. Manuguerra S et al, Nat Prod Res. 2020 Jun;34(11):1567-1570
  2. Weil MJ et al, J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 9;53(5):1440-4
  3. Marzocco S et al, Food Funct. 2015 Dec;6(12):3778-88
  4. Herz C et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2017. 2017:1950692
  5. Goos KH et al, Arzneimittelforschung 2006; 56(3):249-257.
  6. Conrad A et al. Drug research 2013; 63(2):65-68.
  7. Park HW et al, Biocontrol Sci  2013; 18(3):163-168.
  8. Dekic MS et al, Food Chem. 2017 Oct 1;232:329-339.
  9. Eichel V et al, BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020 May 24;20(1):156.
  10. Oxford JS et al, Am J Ther. Sep-Oct 2007;14(5):462-8.
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