Herb: Japanese Horseradish

Latin name: Wasabia japonica

Synonyms: Eutrema wasabi

Family: Cruciferae

Medicinal use of Japanese Horseradish:

The root is a pungent warming herb that stimulates the digestion. It is used internally as an antidote to fish poison. (This probably refers to food poisoning caused by eating fish).

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Wet places and by streams, in lowland and mountain areas. Usually found near the coast.

Edible parts of Japanese Horseradish:

Root - a horseradish substitute. The fleshy rhizomes are finely grated and prepared into an attractive fresh green paste which is much used as a condiment in Japan. It is considered to have a distinct flavour and pungency that is superior to horseradish, Armoracia rusticana. The pungency rapidly deteriorates once the root has been cut. Roots of plants 15 - 24 months old are best. Leaves, flowers and petioles - cooked. The leaves, flowers, leafstalks and freshly sliced rhizome are soaked in salt water and then mixed with saki lees to make a popular Japanese pickle called "wasabi-zuke". The following analysis is said to belong to the leaves but it looks more like a root analysis. The leaves contain about 6.1% protein, 0.2% fat, 22.3% carbohydrate, 1.3% ash.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and keep the seed permanently moist. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year. Stand the pots in shallow water to ensure the plants do not dry out. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring as the plant comes into growth. Very easy, the larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.

Cultivation of Japanese Horseradish:

Wet places and by streams, in lowland and mountain areas. Usually found near the coast.

Known hazards of Wasabia japonica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.