encyclopedia

Black Radish

Scientific Names:    

Raphanus sativus L. var. niger  (Mill.) S. Kerner [Fam. Brassicaceae]    
 
   
Forms:    

Fresh, whole black radish; and black radish juice.    
     

Traditional Usage:    

– Anti-aging
– Antibacterial
– Antioxidant
– Antiviral
– Bile Deficiency
– Blood Purifier
– Cellular Regeneration
– Cleansing, Detoxifying
– Colds and Flu, Bronchitis, Sore Throat
– Constipation (whole root taken raw)
– Coughs
– Digestive Disorders
– Gallbladder Health Maintenance
– Liver Health Maintenance
– Nutritive
– Respiratory Health Maintenance
– Scurvy
– Thyroid Health Maintenance
– Tonic
– Vascular Disorders
– Vitamin Deficiencies     
     
    
Overview:    

Black radish, Raphanus sativus L. var. niger (Mill.) S. Kerner [Fam. Brassicaceae], belongs to the Cruciferae (mustard plant) family and is an ancient vegetable thought to come from Asia, although it may have originated from early Egyptians who began making oil from radish seeds in ancient times. Black radish is a root vegetable the size of a turnip, with a black skin and white flesh. Black radishes have a strong bitter flavor and, like other cruciferous vegetables, they are often associated with causing bloating upon digestion. Black radishes have many medicinal properties and are more commonly used as a medicine than as a food, particularly for stimulating the production of bile, treating gallbladder gravel and serving as a liver tonic. Radishes have been shown to contain a variety of chemicals that increase the flow of bile, which plays an important role in the digestive process. The root is also rich in vitamin C, which makes it valuable during the winter months, particularly for helping individuals to fight infections and free radicals. Black radish also has documented antiviral activity against influenza. Additionally, black radish juice is recommended to treat cough and to fortify and tone the body. Dr. James Duke in The Green Pharmacy recommends radishes for treating Graves' disease and hypothyroidism. He notes that Russian researchers have identified a compound called raphanin in radishes that helps keep levels of thyroid hormones in balance when it is found circulating in the blood. Radishes also have an antibacterial effect and help to eliminate pathogens within the digestive tract. The fresh root's high fibre content can treat constipation. Culpeper says of radishes that, “It provokes urine and is good for the stone and gravel. The expressed juice of the root, with the addition of a little wine, is an admirable remedy for gravel.”    
     
    
Active Ingredients:    

Fresh black radishes contain: Water 94.8%; Protein 0.6 g; Total lipid (fat) 0.54g; Carbohydrate 3.6g; Fiber, total dietary 1.6g. Minerals: Calcium 21mg; Iron 0.29mg; Magnesium 9mg; Phosphorus 18mg; Potassium 232mg; Sodium 24mg; Zinc 0.30mg; Copper 0.04mg; Manganese 0.07mg; Selenium 0.7mcg. Vitamins: Vitamin C 22.8mg; B-1 (thiamin) 0.005mg; B-2 (riboflavin) 0.045mg; B-3 (niacin) 0.3mg; B-5 (pantothenic acid) 0.088mg; B-6 (pyridoxine) 0.071mg; Folate 27mcg; Vitamin A 8 IU; Vitamin A (RE) 1mcg; Vitamin E 0.001 mcg ATE. Lipids: Fatty acids, saturated 0.03g; Fatty acids, monounsaturated 0.017g; Fatty acids, polyunsaturated 0.045g; Linoleic acid (18:2) 0.016g; Alpha-linolenic acid (18:3) 0.029g; Cholesterol  0.0mg. [USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 13 (November 1999].

According to Duke (1992), radish roots contain: up to 0.62% ascorbic acid; 1.0-18.6% ash; boron; caffeic acid; up to 0.86% calcium; 3.6-75.7% carbohydrates; p-coumaric acid; up to 18.7% fat; 0.5-17.6% fiber; folacin; glucoputranjivin; glucoraphanin; up to 25.5% Glutamic acid; glycine; Histidine; indoleacetic acid; indoleacetonitrile; iron; Isoleucine; Leucine; up to 0.3% linoleic acid; up to 0.56% linolenic acid; magnesium; manganese; Methionine; S-methyl-L-cysteinsulfoxide; MUFA; myristic acid; niacin; nickel; up to 3.9% nitrogen; oleic acid; 0.009% oxalic acid; Palmitic acid; pantothenic acid; phenylalanine; up to 0.6% phosphorus; up to 0.14% phytosterols; up to 8.6% potassium; proline; up to 18.2% protein; PUFA; raphanusin A-D; riboflavin; rubidium; selenium; serine; silicon; sinapic acid; sodium; Stearic acid; L-sulforaphene; up to 0.6% sulfur; thiamin; Threonine; Tryptophan; tyrosine; Valine; vitamin B-6; 92.6-94.5% water; zinc. [Information from: Duke JA. 1992. Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, Pp. 511-512].
 
Also, 4-(Methylthio)-3-butenyl isothiocyanate, has been identified in daikon (Raphanus sativus; Japanese white radish) as the principal antimutagen compound, and this and/or other isothiocyanates are likely also found in black radish. [Nakamura Y, Iwahashi T, Tanaka A, Koutani J, Matsuo T, Okamoto S, Sato K, Ohtsuki K. 2001. 4-(Methylthio)-3-butenyl isothiocyanate, a principal antimutagen in daikon (Raphanus sativus; Japanese white radish). J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Dec; 49(12): 5755-60].
    
     
Suggested Amount:    

Culpeper recommends a wineglassful of radish juice mixed with other juices taken daily, starting with a small amount and increasing gradually. It is recommended to mix the radish juice with other juices before drinking it because the juice is very strong. Culpeper recommends mixing radish juice with 6 times as much celery juice or twice as much carrot juice.
 
Black radishes can also be eaten raw. The skin of the fresh radish is hard and must be removed. One source recommends serving them grated up as a salad with salt and cream added to tame their strong flavor. You can also cook them like you would do with turnips. Black radish is reputedly at its best in winter. When purchased, black radishes should be firm with unblemished skins. Like other root vegetables, black radish keeps well in a cool area. You can store them for up to 3 weeks.
    
    
Drug Interactions:    

None known.    
     
    
Contraindications:    

People with gallbladder problems (i.e. stones, obstructions) should not take too much black radish all at once, as well as people with severe kidney or hepatic (liver) problems. In these cases, it is best to consult a qualified medical practitioner before using black radish juice or eating significant amounts of black radish or any other forms of radish.    
     
    
Side Effects:    

All cruciferous vegetables gently and naturally suppress thyroid hormone production, but radishes do it best according to medical anthropologist John Heinerman, Ph.D., author of Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs. Heinerman reports that radishes have long been used in Russia for treating thyroid problems, so black radish juice should be helpful and not be problematic for those with mild thyroid imbalances. However, those with severe disorders should consult a qualified medical practitioner before using black radish juice or eating significant amounts of radish.    
     
    
References:    

Duke, J. 1997: The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing and Herbs. Pp. 279; 333. Rodale Press.
 
el Sayed F, Manzur F, Marguery MC, Bayle P, Bazex J. 1995. Urticarial manifestations due to Raphanus niger. Contact Dermatitis. 1995 Apr; 32(4): 241.
 
Potterton, D. (ed.) 1983. Culpeper's Color Herbal. Copyright W. Foulsham and Co. Ltd. 1983. Publ. by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., Two Park Avenue, New York, NY, 10016. Pp. 152.
 
Prahoveanu E, Esanu V. 1990. [The effects of aqueous extracts of Raphanus niger on an experimental influenza infection in mice and on the enzyme polymorphism in lung tissue extracts]. Rev Roum Virol. 1990 Apr-Jun; 41(2): 113-7. French.
 
Prahoveanu E, Esanu V. 1987. [Immunomodulation with natural products. I. Effect of an aqueous extract of Raphanus sativus niger on experimental influenza infection in mice]. Virologie. 1987 Apr-Jun; 38(2): 115-20. French.