Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Natural sinus remedies: a review of horseradish

Natural sinus remedies: a review of horseradish

There is no dearth of natural sinus remedies. However, horseradish, an integral part of folk medicine, is an age-old remedy.


The plant
Botanists call it Armoracia rusticana. The herb with rubefacient, expectorant, diuretic, carminative and antioxidant properties naturally grows along streams, in damp meadows and cool forests. However, it can be grown in home garden.
The plant bears small flowers of white color.
The radish is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and vitamins C and A.
The 30-cm long and 12-mm thick root is pungent, spicy and hot.
The perennial is believed to be a native of Russia or Europe. However, the herb is now-a-days found in New Zealand, South and North America, Asia, parts of Africa and Europe.
Although the herb is part of folk medicine, in some parts of North America, it is considered as a troublesome weed.
Uses
Vinegar made from horseradish root is used for chronic sinus congestion.
The radish eases sinus pressure and stimulates mucus drainage.
The herb reduces inflammation of frontal sinuses.
The herb is used in different ways in different parts of the world. Japanese, for instance, uses powdered radish as condiment. Fresh grated roots can also be used. If you are allergic to horseradish, do not use it.
Commercial products without chemical additives are also available. Sinus Free, Planetary formula number 77, is used for opening blocked sinuses. The formula contains thyme, eyebright, yarrow and the root of horseradish. The formula aids secretion of mucus. The flavonoids found in the formula stabilize mast cells, controlling the histamines’ release.
Harvest Moon Natural Foods sell Sinus Plumber Horseradish and Pepper Nasal Spray.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Armoracia lapathifolia Gilib (horseradish) as flavor enhancer, spice and seasoning. The herb is rated as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).

Suitability for sinusitis

Some studies have been conducted to test its suitability for sinusitis. The studies have found out that it may be used with other herbs for sinusitis therapy due to its antibiotic properties. The antibiotic allyl isothiocyanate is released while grating the root. However, more scientific research and data is required to elaborate on its role in healing sinusitis.
The herb, one of natural sinus remedies administered to treat the congestion, has some side effects. The documented side effects include allergic reactions, diarrhea, sinus irritation, vomiting and stomach related symptoms. So check with your physician before administering it. The herb may worsen stomach ulcers and lead to abortion.
A German study conducted during 2004-05 concluded that a herbal drug containing horseradish and nasturtium might be as effective as a traditional antibiotic therapy for acute sinusitis, urinary tract infections and bronchitis. You can read the full study here.

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