Why Is It Called Horseradish?

Have you ever heard of horseradish? Many condiment lovers may be familiar with this punchy spicy root, but few may know where the name comes from.

In this article, we will uncover the mystery of how this beloved condiment got its name. We will explore the various theories and theories, while giving you a detailed look at what makes horseradish the powerful condiment it is today. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the answer to the question: why is it called horseradish?

Why Is It Called Horseradish?

Horseradish is a root vegetable widely used in sauces, condiments, and as a flavoring in dishes around the world. It is known for its strong flavor and pungent aroma.

But where did this ubiquitous vegetable get its strange name?

A Brief Overview of Horseradish History

Horseradish (or Armoracia rusticana) was first referenced in texts as far back as the 15th century, where it grew wild in the woods of Europe.

It was once used to top sandwiches in the UK and even cooked with onions to make a type of relish. As the popularity of this root vegetable spread, it became popular throughout Europe and eventually gained a foothold in the United States.

Why Is It Called Horseradish?

There are a few different theories as to why this root vegetable is called horseradish. One popular theory is that it was named after the Old World rooster, or “horse” in German.

This is because it is said that the pungent odor of horseradish was likened to that of a rooster. Other theories suggest that it was named after the fact that it looks like a horse’s tail and is dug from the ground in much the same way a root vegetable is.

Yet another theory suggests it is named after the Greek-derived term, “armoraco”, which refers to the armor-like leaves which sprout from the stem of the horseradish plant.

Culinary Uses for Horseradish

Horseradish has a long history in cookery, and its pungent flavor and aroma make it a versatile ingredient. It can be used in sauces and condiments, such as wasabi and mustard, or even eaten raw with red meat or added to a variety of dishes.

Horseradish can also be used to create a tincture that can be used topically to treat rheumatism, muscle aches, and other afflictions. Additionally, horseradish is known to contain several compounds that may have medicinal properties, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.


Though the exact origin of the name “horseradish” is largely unknown, it is a staple ingredient in many dishes around the world. Various theories suggest it was given its name due to its similarity to a rooster, its appearance as a horse’s tail, or for its armor-like leaves. Along with its culinary uses, it may have medicinal properties that can be used to treat a plethora of ailments. Citation URL: https://www. thekitchn. com/history-of-horseradish-235056https://www. healthline. com/health/horseradish#health-benefits

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