Oriental Radish (Raphanus sativus niger)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Oriental Radish
Raphanus sativus niger
Cruciferae

The growing plant repels beetles from tomatoes and cucumbers[20, 201]. It is also useful for repelling various other insect pests such as carrot root fly[201].

There is a fodder variety that grows more vigorously and is used as a green manure[87].

  • Medicinal Use

    Radishes have long been grown as a food crop, but they also have various medicinal actions. The roots stimulate the appetite and digestion, having a tonic and laxative effect upon the intestines and indirectly stimulating the flow of bile[254]. Consuming radish generally results in improved digestion, but some people are sensitive to its acridity and robust action[254].

    The plant is used in the treatment of intestinal parasites, though the part of the plant used is not specified[147].

    The leaves, seeds and old roots are used in the treatment of asthma and other chest complaints[218].

    The juice of the fresh leaves is diuretic and laxative[240].

    The seed is carminative, diuretic, expectorant, laxative and stomachic[176, 218, 240]. It is taken internally in the treatment of indigestion, abdominal bloating, wind, acid regurgitation, diarrhoea and bronchitis[238].

    The root is antiscorbutic, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, digestive and diuretic[21, 218]. It is crushed and used as a poultice for burns, bruises and smelly feet[218]. Radishes are also an excellent food remedy for stone, gravel and scorbutic conditions[4]. The root is best harvested before the plant flowers[21]. Its use is not recommended if the stomach or intestines are inflamed[21].

    The plant contains raphanin, which is antibacterial and antifungal[218, 238]. It inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, streptococci, Pneumococci etc[176]. The plant also shows anti-tumour activity[218].

  • Edible Use

    Young leaves – raw or cooked[37, 52, 104, 183]. A somewhat hot taste, and the texture is somewhat coarse[K]. As long as they are young, they make an acceptable addition in small quantities to chopped salads and are a reasonable cooked green[K]. A nutritional analysis is available[218].

    Young flower clusters – raw or cooked[183]. A spicy flavour with a crisp pleasant texture, they make a nice addition to salads or can be used as a broccoli substitute[9, K].

    Seeds – raw. The seed can be soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then allowed to sprout for about 6 days[244]. They have a hot spicy flavour and go well in salads[183, 244].

    Young seedpods – raw[2, 37, 52, 104]. Crisp and juicy with a mildly hot flavour[K]. They must be eaten when young because they quickly become tough and fibrous[183].

    Root – raw or cooked[2, 37, 52]. Large, crisp and juicy, many varieties have a hot and spicy flavour, though there are also many of the Oriental forms with much milder flavours. They can be sliced and eaten in salads or can be cooked in soups etc. The roots store well and can be either harvested in early winter for storage or be harvested as required through the winter[K].

    An edible oil is obtained from the seed[2, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The Japanese radishes have higher concentrations of glucosinolate, a substance that acts against the thyroid gland. It is probably best to remove the skin[160].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow outdoors in situ from spring to late summer. Most cultivars are best sown in late summer in order to provide a crop in the winter and early spring, though there are several cultivars that can be successfully sown in the spring to provide a summer and autumn crop.
Prefers a rich soil with ample moisture[16, 52]. Dislikes very heavy or acid soils[16, 37]. Some of the Oriental radish cultivars have been selected for growing in clay soils, the swollen part of the root is formed on the soil surface[206]. Plants are susceptible to drought and require irrigation during dry spells in the summer or the root quality will rapidly deteriorate and the plant will go to seed. The Oriental and winter radishes are often cultivated for their large edible roots, which can be available from mid summer and all through the winter. There are many named varieties. The plants are very winter hardy and can normally be left in the ground all winter to be harvested as required, though slugs might cause some damage to the roots. Radishes are a good companion plant for lettuces, nasturtiums, peas and chervil, tomatoes and cucumbers[18, 20]. They are said to repel cucumber beetles if planted near cucumber plants and they also repel the vine borers which attack squashes, marrows and courgettes[238]. They grow badly with hyssop[18, 20] and with grape vines[201].
A plant of cultivation. the origin of which is obscure. It probably arose through cultivation.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.