The cooler temps and dryness that accompanies them urge us towards herbs and herbal preparations that support circulation, immune function, and lung health. Horseradish root, Armoracia rusticana, is another super valuable medicinal herb almost hidden in plain sight. When feeling "stuck" in various physically ways, and even mentally or emotionally, consider working with this plant.
This root increases circulation in the body, moves mucus in the upper respiratory tract and sinus, helps stimulate heavy stagnant digestion, and even supports the lymphatic system. Think secretions!! The preparation method below is a good one to recall when you, or someone you love, needs quick and direct nudging and warming. Whether emotionally or physically.
Preparing fresh horseradish root for storage:
Take desired piece of root (no need to peel) and either grate by hand or us a food processor. Remember that as you grate the root you will release strong aromatics into the air. It will likely cause your sinuses to tingle and drip and maybe cause your eyes to water. This is a desired effect! But be warned, take care when deeply inhaling the fresh chopped herb, especially when using a food processor, as the aromatics can be very strong at this point!
Transfer root into a clean jar and cover with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and honey to your taste. A good ratio to start with is 2:1, vinegar:honey*.
This preparation is ready to take immediately. From here you can store in the fridge and take spoonfuls, including root bits, as needed and desired. Alternatively, you can strain after a couple weeks.
*honey helps to support the action of the horseradish with its moistening and healing qualities, but can be omitted if needed/desired.
Preparing fresh horseradish root for immediate use:
Grate a small amount of root as needed. This root can be infused in hot water to make a tea (add honey if you like), or blended with some combination of vinegar and honey as seen above. You can also simply grate fresh root onto bread, crackers, cheese, or vegetables as desired and eat plain.
For dosing, remember that horseradish is hot and spicy as well as being a digestive stimulant so avoid eating on an empty stomach. For acute illness try multiple spoonfuls/day. For a more long-term tonic approach, work with a spoonful/day.
Whole fresh root can be stored in the fridge wrapped well in plastic, or frozen. If you prefer making larger batches at a time freeze the root whole, otherwise, for more frequent smaller preps cut into smaller pieces and use bit by bit as needed.
We have local organic horseradish for sale in the shop right now from Shelburne Farms via Spoonful Herbals. For every pound sold a $2 donation will go to the Herbal Justice Fund.
Susan Staley is a clinical and community herbalist staff member with Railyard Apothecary. She deeply values those herbs and plants commonly available to us today in most grocery stores, and the where the edge blurs between food and medicine. You can schedule a conversation with her or other members of Burlington Herb clinic here: https://www.burlingtonherbclinic.com/
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