Black Radish

Raphanus niger

Herbs gallery - Black Radish

Black radish (botanical name Raphanus niger) is a root vegetable having a close relationship with the horseradish and turnip family. The exterior of this vegetable has a sooty black color, while the inside is white. The flesh of this vegetable is crispy and it provides a pepper-like hot flavour. The concentration of this radish's flavour may differ from a little hot to extremely pungent and slightly bitter subject to its size and maturity. The flavour of black radish is fairly similar to that of horseradish. The shape of the black radish may also vary - it may be elongated or even round. The diameter of the round black radish may be anything between two inches and six inches.

Black radishes come in two varieties - spring or winter radishes, depending on the time of the year when the vegetable is harvested. In fact, the spring radishes mature very fast and are harvested quite early during the growing season. As a result, they are smaller in size. On the other hand, winter radish has a very slow growth and these are harvested quite later during their growth season. As a result, this variety of black radish has a larger size both rounded as well as elongated. Generally, winter radishes have a milder flavour and their peppery flavour is also very delicate. Nonetheless, some black radishes may have a very potent and pungent flavour.

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Black radish may be cooked in the same manner as you cook a turnip. It can be creamed and served in the form of a side dish, braised or sautéed for serving in the form of a vegetable dish. Alternatively, black radish may also be included in stir fry dishes. The skin of this vegetable is generally removed before cooking. Alternatively, black radish can also be served raw for use in the form of hors d'oeuvres, to go with sandwiches and salads. You can also slice this root vegetable and add them to soups and stews. If you find the pungency of the vegetable very potent, you can decrease it by salting the radish and washing it to draw out the peppery essence. It can be reduced further if you steam the radish for about 5 minutes to 10 minutes, or by baking it with some other vegetables.

While purchasing black radish, it is advisable that you opt for the vegetables that are crisp, firm and devoid of blemishes. If radishes are grown as well as harvested when the temperatures are high, they have a tendency to be bitterer. Before storing black radish in a refrigerator, remove its leafy tops. Ideally, you should wrap this root vegetable in plastic before putting them in a refrigerator, as it will help them to remain viable for many weeks. Provided a dish does not call for the earthy, pepper-like flavour of black radish, they can be substituted well by turnips. Often the black radish is also called the Spanish black radish.

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Black radishes are loaded with vitamin C, in addition to containing reasonable amounts of iron, potassium and magnesium. This root vegetable also contains a few vitamins - vitamin A, vitamin B and vitamin E. Black radishes are also said to be effective in combating infections and support the digestive health. Chemical analysis of the black radish has shown that this root vegetable also contains raphanin, which has been found to be helpful in treating thyroid conditions, bother overactive as well as under-active. Findings of number of studies undertaken to examine the health benefits of black radish have revealed that the leaves of this root vegetable possesses added detoxifying properties.

Health benefits

Consumption of the black radish offers a number of health benefits, especially related to the health of the liver. It is said that the compounds present in black radish have a distinct effect on the liver. They activate as well as regenerate the cells in the liver. The black radish serves the purpose of a cholagogue. In other words, consumption of black radish helps to encourage production of bile in the liver and supplies it to the intestines. Hence, black radish works as a tonic for the liver, facilitating the detoxification and purification of this vital organ. Consequently, the action of black radish also helps to cleanse as well as purify the blood and, at the same time, decreases the presence of gravel in the gallbladder.

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A recent study involving black radish has revealed that this root vegetable possesses the aptitude to keep high blood pressure in check. This effect of the vegetable is attributed to its potassium content.

As black radish contains elevated amounts of water and dietary fiber, it is useful in preventing constipation. Taking a diet rich in fiber along with lots of fluids helps to ensure normal bowel movements. This, in turn, promotes our overall health. The compound raphanin found in black radish is useful for sustaining a healthy balance of the hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. Doctors are of the view that raphanin is highly effective in curing hyperthyroidism, also known as the Grave's disease. It has been found that all cruciferous vegetables slow down thyroid hormone production, but the black radish is the most effective among the lot.

Black radish contains vitamin C and a number of other antioxidants, which are effective in eliminating the harmful free radicals from our body. The free radicals are responsible for several ailments including skin disorders, premature aging and even cancer. Therefore, consuming this root vegetable is helpful in preventing wrinkles, fine lines and spots. In other words, black radish makes the skin look youthful and firm.

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As an herb, the black radish also serves the purpose of a diuretic, by encouraging urine production - both frequency and amount. In this way, black radish helps to stimulate expulsion of waste materials, toxins, gravel and stones from the body, especially the gallbladder.

It is believed that black radish has effective detoxifying effects on the liver. Consumption of this root vegetable helps to promote bile production and its secretion from the liver to the intestines, which, in turn, facilitates the cleansing and purification of the blood and, at the same time, ensure the health of the gallbladder. Usually, medicos suggest people to consume black radish when they undergo seasonal detoxification programs. As black radish helps to promote the health of the gallbladder, it also enhances digestion and possesses the ability to lessen oral and throat inflammation. Since the dietary fiber content of black radish is high, it has a gentle laxative effect, which is beneficial for people enduring constipation. People in Asia also consume black radish with a view to promote the health of their respiratory system. They believe that eating black radishes helps to combat infections associated with the respiratory tract, such as colds, coughs, bronchitis, flu and sore throat.

Like you do with watermelon, cut a cap in the black radish and put one teaspoon of sugar. Leave the black radish in the same condition through the night and in the next morning you will find that the vegetable's juice has collected. Take one teaspoon of the juice after your meals. Every time you take the black radish juice, add one teaspoon of sugar to it. After the sugar extracts the juice from the radish, the vegetable will shrink. It is said that taking this black radish syrup is beneficial for treating cough.

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Since eating black radish promotes production of bile, this vegetable also plays an important role in our digestive process, but facilitating the body to get rid of accumulated food and toxins. In addition, black radish is also known to possess antibacterial attributes that promote the elimination of pathogens from the digestive tract. This root vegetable has been traditionally employed to lessen indigestion, flatulence, bloating in the abdomen as well as acid reflux (acid regurgitation).

As black radish contains several vitamins and essential minerals, it is considered to be very nutritious; its consumption helps to overcome vitamin deficits. This root vegetable is especially loaded with vitamin C, which is highly effective in treating scurvy. Moreover, eating black radish during the winter months is particularly beneficial in fighting various infections as well as the detrimental free radicals. This root vegetable is also believed to possess anti-viral properties, which aid in combating influenza.

Black radish juice is also applied topically for treating skin blemishes. It is also useful for curing skin disorders like acne marks, blackheads, dark spots and several other problems. In addition, the pulp of black radish can also be used to make a face pack.

Drinking a glass of the juice extracted from black radish daily helps to invigorate the hair follicles and, at the same time, make the hair stronger. It is also said to promote hair growth. People taking this juice on a regular basis will notice a visible decline in hair fall.

Black radish is also useful in reducing all degrees of damages to red blood cells (erythrocytes). At the same time, consuming black radish has been found to help augment oxygen supply to different parts of our body. These two activities of the root vegetable help in treating jaundice and it is recommended that you use black radish to obtain the above mentioned health benefits.

As this vegetable contains rich amounts of vitamin B and vitamin E and along with its detoxifying properties, it can help to protect your skin from the harms caused by inflammatory conditions. In addition, black radish also puts off oxidative stress, which often results in age spots, wrinkles and undesirable blemishes. Hence consumption of black radish helps to make the skin glow and look youthful.

Glutathione is among the most vital antioxidants present in our body and it is responsible to make sure that the liver functions well and there is no accumulation of too much toxins in this organ. Nevertheless, as one grows older, the level of glutathione in the body declines. In such conditions, consuming foods like black radish are helpful in enhancing glutathione levels, thereby helping us to maintain a robust health.

These days several people suffer from hair loss, making it a very common problem across the world. However, drinking just a glassful of black radish juice daily can help one to overcome this problem effectively. Black radish is a wonderful vegetable that can help to simulate the hair roots, thereby promoting growth of strong and dense hair. In fact, black radish juice helps to improve the blood circulation on our scalp. Consuming the juice of black radish or the vegetable itself is necessary for providing our hair with proper nourishment. Moreover, it makes the hair shafts stronger. Combined together, all these contribute to fewer hair loss and enhanced hair growth, especially growth of new hair.

You can also use black radish to treat extreme oiliness or dryness of the scalp. People who are suffering from dandruff ought to apply black radish juice on their scalp right now. The juice of this vegetable not only nourishes the hair, but also the entire scalp. On the other hand, people enduring greasiness on your scalp owing to too much emission from the sebum glands, it is advisable that you use black radish hair mask. Applying this hair mask will help your hair to get rid of the greasiness, be long as well as be glossy.

We have already discussed above that black radish is an amazing detoxifying agent, as it gets rid of all toxic substances from the stomach. When the toxins are removed from the stomach, it helps to maintain the standard pH level of the gut. Black radish is also loaded with dietary fiber, which makes the digestive process easier and also helps improve bowel movements. At the same time, consumption of this vegetable enhances the functioning of the bile, thereby resulting in enhanced digestion. The overall result of this is an improvement in the body's digestive rate as well as process.

It is worth mentioning here that black radish contains an exceptionally high concentration of antioxidants, which makes it an amazing food that also helps us to get rid of inflammation. The potent anecdotal formula of this vegetable also clears congestion in the chest. At the same time, the anti-inflammatory property of black radish helps to facilitate the passage of mucus through the nose and the throat. Therefore, this vegetable is a wonderful natural cure for cold.

Black radish also encloses reasonably high amounts of some essential minerals like magnesium and potassium. These essential minerals are needed by the human body to maintain the balance of chemicals in our brain. Potassium and magnesium form active components of an electrolytic solution. Therefore, black radish is considered to be a supplement of potassium and magnesium for the human body as well as the brain. Consumption of this vegetable helps to restore the electrochemical equilibrium of the brain. It also helps to enhance mental alertness.

Aside from the above mentioned health benefits of potassium and magnesium, these two essential minerals are also known to be effective memory chargers. In this way, they enhance our mental concentration.

Excellent concentration of vitamin C in black radish means that consuming this vegetable will help to boost your immune system. At the same time, it will aid in enhancing white blood cell (erythrocyte) production, which is the body's main defence against various pathogens, bacteria as well as different toxic substances.

The calorie content of black radish is very low, but it contains a reasonably high concentration of dietary fiber. The dietary fiber in this vegetable will not let you feel hungry for prolonged periods and giving you a feeling of being satiated, thereby you will be able to contain your overall calorie intake. In turn, this will result in weight loss and also enhance the metabolic rate.

Findings of several scientific studies have shown that black radish is an exceptional vegetable that possesses the ability to bring down the levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol and help to maintain the blood pressure within the standard range. This, in turn, will help to lower the chances of developing heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis and many other ailments. This vegetable is also beneficial for people having high levels of cholesterol. The juice of black radish root possesses antioxidants that can deal with lipid (cholesterol and fat) metabolism, thereby reducing the chances of developing hyperlipidemia. This vegetable juice also has a beneficial effect on the liver, the organ that is responsible for eliminating bad cholesterol from the body.

Moreover, it has been found that black radish also helps to cure gallstones formed due to high cholesterol levels. During animal studies, researchers used black radish juice to reduce the serum cholesterol as well as triglycerides in rodents, thereby demonstrating that this vegetable can be effectively used as a supplement to treat gallstones.

If your blood is toxic and is not purified, it can often eliminate the friendly or good bacteria in your stomach, hold back the normal performance of various organs and also damage the functioning of RBC. However, consuming black radish can help you to get rid of all toxic substances that may be there in the blood as well as bone marrow.

Side effects and cautions

Despite its health benefits, black radish should not be used by people suffering from certain conditions. In fact, people enduring gallbladder stones or blockages or individuals suffering from acute hepatic (liver) or kidney problems should essentially consult a physician or health care professional before they start using black radish herbal supplement.

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