Cancer-fighting properties of horseradish revealed

horseradish cancer

  • Horseradish contains cancer-fighting compounds known as glucosinolates.
  • Glucosinolate type and quantity vary depending on size and quality of the horseradish root.
  • The activation of cancer-fighting enzymes by glucosinolates in horseradish is now scientifically documented.

The humble horseradish may not be much to look at, but a recent University of Illinois study shows that it contains compounds that could help detoxify and eliminate cancer-causing free-radicals in the body.

“We knew horseradish had health benefits, but in this study, we were able to link it to the activation of certain detoxifying enzymes for the first time,” says U of I crop scientist Mosbah Kushad.

Kushad’s research team had previously identified and quantified the compounds responsible for the cancer-fighting compounds, known as glucosinolates, in horseradish, noting that horseradish contains approximately 10 times more glucosinolates than its superfood cousin, broccoli. 

“No one is going to eat a pound of horseradish,” Kushad points out. Luckily, a teaspoon of the pungent condiment is sufficient to get the benefit.

In the new study, Kushad and his team looked for the products of glucosinolate hydrolysis, which activate enzymes involved in detoxification of cancer-causing molecules. They compared the quantity and activity of these products in 11 horseradish strains rated U.S. Fancy, U.S. No. 1, or U.S. No. 2. The USDA puts fresh-market horseradish in these categories based on diameter and length of the root.

“There was no information on whether the USDA grade of the horseradish root is associated with cancer preventive activity, so we wanted to test that,” Kushad explains.

The group found that the higher-grade U.S. Fancy accessions had significantly more glucosinolates than U.S. No. 1. Concentrations of various glucosinolate hydrolysis products differed according to USDA grade, with U.S. Fancy having greater allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) and U.S. No. 1 having greater 1-cyano 2,3-epithiopropane (CETP).

The two compounds differ, with CETP being a comparatively weaker cancer-fighter than AITC. Still, the detection of CETP in horseradish is noteworthy, according to Kushad. “To our knowledge, this is the first detection and measurement of CETP from horseradish,” he says.

The team suggests that AITC is a good dietary anti-carcinogen, not only because it activates the enzyme responsible for detoxifying cancer-causing molecules, but also because a large proportion of it, 90 percent, is absorbed when ingested.

U.S. Fancy is the designation given to large horseradish roots, meaning the root is 8 inches or longer, with a 1.5 inch diameter. U.S. No. 1 is 6 inches. U.S. No. 2 is 4 inches. I have yet to find a horseradish product that discloses which horseradish grade they use, because no one cares, until now of course! If you want the most potent horseradish, I suggest you bring a ruler to the grocery store or farmers market and be on the lookout for those 8 inch long roots! Freshly grated will be the most potent form.

Easy ways to get horseradish into your diet
Annie’s Organic Horseradish Mustard
Spicely Organic Horseradish Powder

Also look for prepared horseradish in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Whole Foods has it next to the sauerkraut and kim chi.

If you don’t like the taste of horseradish, or you want to megadose, you can also get it in supplement form.

Ginger, turmeric and horseradish all contain potent anti-cancer compounds, get them in your body!

Related post: The Top 10 Anti-Cancer Vegetables

Article Source

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This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Gary

    Thanks so much Chris for all that you do. God Bless

    1. Elena

      Yes, thank you Chris. Really enjoyed hearing you at the Food Revolution Summit with John Robbins.

      1. Chris Wark

        You’re welcome Gary and Elena!

  2. Stchandrasekhar Babu

    Good. congtates to the researchers.The moot point here whether the content of horse radish can go thr’ lacticic acid.What is / are path ways of this dietary component ?

  3. Elena

    Yummy, I LOVE horseradish! How about some grated red cabbage salad with a tasty horseradish, lemon juice/applecider vinegar and olive oil dressing? That way we can go on a real glucosinolate spree :)

    1. Chris Wark


  4. Thia

    Love that I can address cancer with common foods!!

    I think horseradish might be great in green smoothies, as well as salad dressings!

    1. AZ DONALD

      horseradish is great and now i’m drooling. gotta get my mom to send me some real stuff in large jars from michigan because all we have down here are tiny jars of it.


      .I had inoperable, progressive brain disease (think heart disease) 5 years ago and went on a no fat, whole foods plant based diet.


      .in 20 months the 3 areas of occlusion in my anterior cerebral arteries had completely cleared up with no evidence of disease.


      .it wouldn’t matter if it were any other disease like heart or even cancer. eliminating excess fat from the diet (over 10%) is key and the only way to do that is to eliminate animal products and don’t add any oils to your food. .


      .the other patient who my neurologist had with the nearly identical brain scans listened to him, didn’t change his diet and has been dead now for 3 years. 1+1=2. unfortunately many people can’t do math… :o)



      1. Chris Wark

        Awesome! Thank you for sharing your story!

      2. Wilma Laura Wiggins

        Such happy news for you and I so agree with you about the no animal products (anything with a face and their fluids) and no oil. I lost 65 lbs on that way of eating and love the food, the being full and the health benefits.

  5. dyannne

    Years ago my brother-in-law always had in his frig Durkee’s dressing. We used it on sandwiches. I always loved it, and when I read the ingredients it had horseradish in it. I think that was the flavor I really liked. But it had a bunch of other stuff in it that wasn’t good so I stopped using it. Still not going to use it, but I will look for horseradish now and Thia’s idea for using it in salad dressings sounds great!

  6. Roberta

    Can you cook the horseradish and still get the benefits?

  7. Sahota Hardeep Sahota

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    1. AZ DONALD

      that is just great to hear your mom is feeling better and I wholeheartedly agree about CBD but to be brutally honest, it could be just placebo effect.

      do you have any follow-up scans or tests to see if her disease is actually reversing?

      please read my story above about a plant based whole foods diet and how going back to real food cured my terminal illness 5 years ago after my esteemed Neurologist from U of A said diet wont make a difference.


    2. AZ DONALD

      i’m wondering by now if you have any additional tests or results. it’s been 3 weeks since my last comment and i’m very curious and hopeful.

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  11. Picklem

    Ha! Good as it is, try taking the smallest bit of grated horse radish on the tip of a spoon – it takes your head OFF! Been there, done that! You do it ONCE!

    In a smoothie? Better start with an 1/8th spoonful, and work up. I grow it, too.

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  13. redmoonrising

    Try Protandim by LifeVantage to reduce oxidative stress/free radicals.

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