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The horseradish from the Aischgrund

Far beyond the Franconian lands, the Aischgrund became known for its unsurpassed delicacy horseradish. It is commonly called 'Kren'. A small addition of horseradish rounds off many a dish.

Horseradish is by no means an 'immigrant' in the fields. As early as 1730, it was mentioned in a document on agriculture in the Aischgrund as a native fruit. Until a few decades ago, however, the main focus of cultivation was in the garlic region around Nuremberg.

The displacement of horseradish (Kren)

The more the Nuremberg garlic region became a vegetable supplier for the large cities of Middle Franconia, the more the horseradish had to vacate its ancestral place.

This unique crop is very labor-intensive. About 1000 working hours are required to maintain one hectare — another reason why horseradish was displaced.

After its spread from the outskirts to the flat countryside, horseradish is the most economical specialty crop in the Aischgrund. The Aischgrund is Germany's largest cultivation area; its arable land covers about 250 hectares.

When it comes to soil conditions, the low-lying terrain between streams and ponds is the first choice and most important prerequisite for the plant to thrive.

It likes moist, deep soil - but not stagnant wetness. In addition, the soil must not be clayey. Only the areas around Hamburg, Bühl in Baden, and the Spreewald offer the plant similarly ideal conditions as in the Aischgrund.


Medical significance

In the Middle Ages, there was a whole list of diseases for which horseradish was administered. It was mainly used as an irritant and skin-reddening agent and against scurvy. For this purpose, horseradish was used more externally than internally. In addition, horseradish was eaten in large quantities as applicable against poisoning to promote vomiting. Horseradish was also used, like mustard, against digestive disorders, scurvy, dropsy, amenorrhea, and in case of menstrual fever. For this purpose, the root was grated or pressed and administered by spoonfuls. It was also considered helpful against earache and three-day fever.

Nowadays Horseradish is used to strengthen the immune system and protect against colds. The horseradish contains a lot of vitamin C. Radix Armoraciae, which can be bought in pharmacies, is included in remedies for flu and urinary tract infections. It stimulates blood circulation, relieves coughs, and is used externally as a poultice for rheumatism, gout, insect bites, sciatica, and other nerve pain. It is also said to help for headaches. To do this, you need to inhale a little scent of the grated horseradish, which will relieve mild tension. Horseradish is also said to be effective against gastrointestinal disorders and beneficial to the secretion of bile (fat digestion). In addition, horseradish contains antibiotics and anticancer substances. These sulfur-containing substances are also found in garlic (such as allicin and sinigrin) and make horseradish a very healthy spice.

The antimicrobial effect of mustard oils in horseradish is scientifically proven. The essential oil contains allyl mustard oil (about 90 %) and 2-phenylethyl mustard oil. Depending on the dose, horseradish has a bacteriostatic or bactericidal effect.

For mustard oil extraction, not the herbaceous perennial is used only the underground thick-fleshed root system of the horseradish.

As early as the 1950s, the antimicrobial activity of volatile and oily active ingredients from horseradish was determined. In vitro tests have shown that the total oil has a strong bacteriostatic effect: the allyl mustard oil from the horseradish root shows promising efficacy in the gram-negative spectrum, while the 2-phenylethylene mustard oil has an extended scope of activity in the gram-positive range.

The antiviral effect of mustard oil from horseradish has also been demonstrated. Horseradish oil also has an excellent fungistatic effect on human pathogenic fungi, yeasts, shoots, and molds.

In various studies, a detoxifying effect of horseradish oil on streptococcal and staphylococcal infections has been demonstrated, which is explained by the inactivation or destruction of the streptococcal toxin streptolysin O. In studies at the Institute of Hygiene in Giessen, Germany, scientists found as early as 1963 that approximately 100 mg of the plant contained the amount of active ingredient that would be required to inactivate three times the amount of staphylococcal toxin that was the highest toxin concentration in the human organism up to that time.

Horseradish root is indicated for catarrh of the respiratory tract, infections of the urinary tract, and hyperemic treatment of mild muscle pain (external use). The fresh or dried crushed drug, fresh plant pressed juice, or other galenic preparations for oral or external use are used. A combination of horseradish root with other plant substances is beneficial. Combined with capuchin cress herb, horseradish root is used in practice as a phytotherapeutic agent for treating respiratory and urinary tract infections. In vitro studies show that combining the two plant compounds has a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity against 13 clinically relevant bacterial strains, including MRSA and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

In the past, it was assumed that horseradish should not be eaten in bladder and kidney disease cases, as large amounts of horseradish could trigger kidney bleeding. Today's literature no longer reports this problem. Horseradish is unsuitable for stomach or intestinal ulcers and thyroid dysfunction patients.

It may burn the mouth and nose when grated raw, cause redness and blisters on the skin, and cause diarrhea or vomiting when taken in vast quantities. This property is lost by drying the horseradish root.

(Source: Wikipedia)