Radish (Raphanus sativum) is a herbaceous plant native from China, belonging to the cruciferous family. The edible part of radish is the root, which has been used since time immemorial for its depurative and sedative properties.
Radish root comes in different shapes, colors and sizes, depending on the variety. It can be round or oblong in shape, while color varies from carmine red to white; and some varieties of radish are characterized by a red color with white streaks.
Its texture is like that of turnips, crunchy, but has a unique sharp-biting and slightly spicy flavor. Depending on the variety, the level of pungency varies from mild to sharp. The green leafy tops are edible and adds a peppery taste to salads.
The more popular radish in Asia is the daikon radish which is shaped almost like the carrot root and are white in color. This variety is typically about 12 to 18 inches in length but can grow up to three feet long! The daikon has firm and crisp texture, and tastes pungent.
Radish is rich in vitamins C and B, which are mainly responsible for its anti-inflammatory and sedative properties, respectively. It is also an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron, copper, sulfur, phosphorous and fiber, while it is very low in calories, virtually devoid of fat and cholesterol.
Radish leaves contain almost six times more vitamin C than its root and are an excellent source of calcium.
To get the maximum nutritional benefits from radish, it is best to consume it when it is young and still small in size, since, as radish gets older, nutrients are drawn from the root (the edible part) to the leaves.
As a member of the cruciferous vegetable family the radish has high content of anti-oxidants and has been used for centuries for its sedative and depurative properties. Below are some health conditions that can benefit from a regular use of radish juice:
Acne: Radish juice applied on the skin is an effective natural remedy against acne. In addition, when drunk regularly, it can help prevent the occurrence of pimples, due to its depurative and detoxifying properties.
Digestive disorders: Due to its liver-protective properties, radish juice helps promote digestion, especially of high-fat foods which require an efficient bile formation by the liver to be easily digested.
Diuretic and laxative: Radish juice is a potassium-sparing diuretic, also used as a natural laxative. This helps the body’s detoxifying organs with eliminating wastes through the kidneys and colon respectively.
Lack of appetite: Radish juice stimulates appetite, so it can be used before meal as a remedy for any health condition affecting appetite and requiring a high calorie or nutrient intake to be effectively managed or fought.
Liver disease: Both the digestive and detoxifying functions of the liver can benefit from drinking a glass of radish juice before every meal. Radish has the right amount of sulfur that help increase the flow of bile that helps maintain a healthy liver, gallbladder and proper digestion of fats. Black radish is especially helpful in this case.
Respiratory diseases: The therapeutic benefits of radish juice on the respiratory tract are countless. Due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral effects, radish juice is effective in relieving respiratory disorders, including cold, flu, cough, asthma, bronchitis and many other lung problems.
Sleeping disorders: The sedative properties of radish have been known since ancient Greek and Roman time where they used radish to promote sleep. Drink a glass of radish juice just before going to bed, and discover an incredible natural remedy against sleep disorders!
Due to its strong and pungent taste, some people prefer to mix it with other fruit or vegetable juices, such as carrot or apple juices. Choose and consume young radish, but do not cook them as high heat destroys the high content of vitamin C.
As the leaves continue to draw nutrients from the radish root, storing with the greens attached can only keep for about 3-5 days in the fridge. Without the greens, the radishes can keep for up to four weeks in the fridge.
With some varieties, the skin may be thick and hot so may need to be peeled before consuming.
Radish has no known safety issues except that the taste is very pungent. When eating/juicing black radish, be aware of its skin which can be very hot to the taste.