The black radish has been used in Asia for many years to treat various afflictions, and was introduced in Europe during the latter half of the 20th century. Its juice or extract is commonly ingested as a tonic that is good for the liver and beneficial for the entire gastrointestinal tract. The vegetable contains antioxidant properties that eliminate the free radicals often responsible for lowering a person’s resistance to disease. Its diuretic effects stimulate urination, which helps eliminate toxins from the body. Black radish also contains high amounts of some vitamins and minerals, and is sometimes used to treat nutritional deficiencies.
This medicinal radish helps the body remove bladder and kidney stones. It promotes the production of bile to aid in digestion, and detoxifies the liver. The detoxification benefits of this root vegetable extend to the circulatory system, since it also helps purify the blood.
Drinking black radish juice is considered beneficial during the winter months when some people are prone to suffer from respiratory infections. It is used in Asia to treat bronchitis and coughs. The extract or juice contains antimicrobial and antiviral properties. These help protect the immune system from afflictions like sore throats, bacterial infections, and viruses such as colds and flu. One study showed this juice provided more protection than penicillin against E. coli bacteria.
This medicinal vegetable is a good source of fiber and also lubricates the digestive tract. Radish juice contains a component that improves peristalsis and helps move digested food through the gastrointestinal system. This lubrication and increased peristalsis help those suffering from constipation since these actions improve, and can even eliminate, this disorder.
Black radish has a very strong flavor. Although it can be eaten after disguising the strong taste with a dressing or sauce, it is generally grown more for its medicinal properties rather than to eat. It contains a high vitamin C content that has been used to treat scurvy, and most of the vitamin B complex. This radish has a high potassium content in addition to other minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It also contains zinc and trace amounts of copper, manganese, and selenium.
Raphanin is a component in black radish known to balance thyroid hormones. Some believe this substance is beneficial in the treatment of Graves' disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. Raphanin is also believed to reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid.