Hi Herby Peeps!
I've just read a footnote in my new bible-Jekka's World of Herbs-and she advises that hypothyroidism patients should not eat or use horseradish.
Could someone enlighten me please? I love eating horseradish and beetroot relish.
I just wonder what the problem is. I'm a very new herb appreciator!
I work with horseradish quite a bit and I've never heard this contraindication before.
Horseradish is a member of the cabbage family and most of those are not helpful to the thyroid. In Thomas Bartram's encyclaedia of herbs, he says horseradish is "anti-thryoid" and it may be this is where Jekka has taken her warning from.
I'm hoping that our qualified herbalists will speak up and enlighten us all here as to custom and practice with horseradish and hypothyroid conditions.
It is interesting that plants which do get labelled as not being good for something don't always act that way with all people. Lemon balm is another herb which is not supposed to be used if you have hypothyroid, but a discussion last year on the Herbwifery forum found that no-one with that condition had found lemon balm to make their thyroid condition worse and all were happy to use it.
It a bit different when you've got a herb like motherwort which acts specifically to calm an overactive thyroid down - it would do the same with an underactive thyroid and reduce thyroid function, so you steer clear of it.
I admire Jekka a great deal. She is a fantastic organic herbal grower, but she isn't a practicing medical herbalist who treats people on a regular basis (as far as I'm aware!). I would imagine her herbal warnings are taken from other people's works and introduced in a very general, rather than specific way.
If you want to grow herbs and learn about their uses and are a beginner in this area, your best bets are David Hoffman's 'Illustrated Herbal', Penelope Ody's 'Complete Medicinal Herbal', Chris Hedley and Non Shaw's 'Herbal Remedies' and Joyce Wardwell's 'The Herbal Home Remedy Book'. You can't go wrong with any of those.