Herb: Oriental Radish


Latin name: Raphanus sativus niger


Family: Cruciferae



Medicinal use of Oriental Radish:

Radishes have long been grown as a food crop, but they also have various medicinal actions. The roots stimulate the appetite and digestion, having a tonic and laxative effect upon the intestines and indirectly stimulating the flow of bile. Consuming radish generally results in improved digestion, but some people are sensitive to its acridity and robust action. The plant is used in the treatment of intestinal parasites, though the part of the plant used is not specified. The leaves, seeds and old roots are used in the treatment of asthma and other chest complaints. The juice of the fresh leaves is diuretic and laxative. The seed is carminative, diuretic, expectorant, laxative and stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of indigestion, abdominal bloating, wind, acid regurgitation, diarrhoea and bronchitis. The root is antiscorbutic, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, digestive and diuretic. It is crushed and used as a poultice for burns, bruises and smelly feet. Radishes are also an excellent food remedy for stone, gravel and scorbutic conditions. The root is best harvested before the plant flowers. Its use is not recommended if the stomach or intestines are inflamed. The plant contains raphanin, which is antibacterial and antifungal. It inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, streptococci, Pneumococci etc. The plant also shows anti-tumour activity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Annual


Height:
45 cm
(1 foot)

Flovering:
June to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Oriental Radish:

Young leaves - raw or cooked. A somewhat hot taste, and the texture is somewhat coarse. As long as they are young, they make an acceptable addition in small quantities to chopped salads and are a reasonable cooked green. A nutritional analysis is available. Young flower clusters - raw or cooked. A spicy flavour with a crisp pleasant texture, they make a nice addition to salads or can be used as a broccoli substitute. Seeds - raw. The seed can be soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then allowed to sprout for about 6 days. They have a hot spicy flavour and go well in salads. Young seedpods - raw. Crisp and juicy with a mildly hot flavour. They must be eaten when young because they quickly become tough and fibrous. Root - raw or cooked. Large, crisp and juicy, many varieties have a hot and spicy flavour, though there are also many of the Oriental forms with much milder flavours. They can be sliced and eaten in salads or can be cooked in soups etc. The roots store well and can be either harvested in early winter for storage or be harvested as required through the winter. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.

Other uses of the herb:

The growing plant repels beetles from tomatoes and cucumbers. It is also useful for repelling various other insect pests such as carrot root fly. There is a fodder variety that grows more vigorously and is used as a green manure.

Propagation of Oriental Radish:

Seed - sow outdoors in situ from spring to late summer. Most cultivars are best sown in late summer in order to provide a crop in the winter and early spring, though there are several cultivars that can be successfully sown in the spring to provide a summer and autumn crop.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Raphanus sativus niger:

The Japanese radishes have higher concentrations of glucosinolate, a substance that acts against the thyroid gland. It is probably best to remove the skin.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.