Rapharus sativus, or the common radish, is an often overlooked vegetable with wonderful healing properties. This root-like vegetable is of the cruciferous variety (in the same family of vegetables as arugula, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and watercress) and offers multiple trace minerals, vitamins, and healing phyto-nutrients that our bodies need. Even the Iron Chef tells us, ‘don’t throw away those radish greens!’
Once used in ancient Chinese medicine and introduced to the Americas by Columbus (according to legend), radishes appeared in Mexico and Haiti in the 1500s. They were part of many a colonial garden. They come in all kinds of varieties and colors, from ravishing red, to blushing pink and even purple, and can weigh up to five pounds and grow up to 7 feet long with a good compost tea, and healthy soil. Many are cultivated for their greens alone, since they are full of healthful properties.
Radishes are high in folic acid, something pregnant women need especially, but so do the rest of us. They are also high in vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous, sulfer, and magnesium. Also in radishes are anthocyanins. This combination of nutrients constitutes a very powerful anti-cancer cocktail. Radishes and their juice and greens have been very helpful in fighting oral, liver, colon, kidney, stomach and intestinal cancers.
Radishes are also helpful in treating gallbladder and liver ailments, as well as helping to flush the kidneys so that kidney stones and gallstones don’t develop in the body.
For a great way to prepare radishes or to enjoy some tasty combinations, you can find thousands of recipes on the Internet. One of the easiest ways to utilize the nutrients in radishes is to eat them raw, sliced in salads, and by adding the greens to other less astringent tasting greens like lettuce or dandelion greens harvested from your own backyard for a extra-special anti-cancer treat. Radishes are a wonderful vegetable to plant in your own organic garden too; they grow well in all climate zones and will be one of the fastest growing foods you plant.
Check out our Health Benefits page to see other benefits of your favorite foods.
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Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.