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Ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological data of Armoracia rusticana P. Gaertner, B. Meyer et Scherb. in Hungary and Romania: a case study

Abstract

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a popular vegetable, spice and medicinal plant. We aimed to collect data about its cultivation, ethnomedicinal and culinary applications in a horseradish-producing region in Hungary and 32 villages in Romania. Horseradish roots are used in ethnomedicine for sore throat, asthma, cough and flu in both areas, alone or in combination with e.g. honey. In Transylvania, additional applications included digestive problems, pleuritis, and rheuma in various forms. The leaf and the grated root is for toothache and fever. Some applications were novel, others matched earlier records from these areas and those of other European countries. In ethnoveterinary practice, the root is used against roaring of horses in all regions. It is traditionally consumed in a soup in Hungary, as pickles, and the leaf in Transylvania. The root samples of the region of interest showed typical chemical pattern of horseradish roots, as shown by GC–MS: allyl isothiocyanate and 2-phenylethyl isothiocyanate were present in high amounts. The presented ethnomedicinal data are supported by a growing body of scientific evidence—pharmacological data available on the isothiocyanates. Data on antimicrobial activity support use in gastritis (Helicobacter pylori) and dental caries, while data on efficacy in inflammatory conditions justify the applications in diseases asthma and respiratory system infections. Our study presented scientific evidence-supported ethnomedicinal data on horseradish rich in bioactive isothiocyanates.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank to the informants for sharing their traditional knowledge. The study was in part supported by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) 124339 grant which is greatly acknowledged, the European Union and the European Social Fund through project EFOP-3.6.1-16-2016-00022, and the Research Grant of the University of Pécs (PTE ÁOK KA-2017-27).

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Papp, N., Gonda, S., Kiss-Szikszai, A. et al. Ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological data of Armoracia rusticana P. Gaertner, B. Meyer et Scherb. in Hungary and Romania: a case study. Genet Resour Crop Evol 65, 1893–1905 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-018-0663-0

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Keywords

  • Ethnopharmacology
  • GC
  • Horseradish
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Traditional knowledge