Radish – nutrition, proven benefits, uses


The scientific name of the radish is Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus (L.) Domin.

Other names include

ARABIC: Fijil, Fujl.
CHINESE: Luo bo, Lai fu, Lai-fu-tzu ts-ao, Ou zhou luo bo.
CROATIAN: Rotkva, Rotkvica.
CZECH: Øedkvièka.
DANISH: Raeddike.
DUTCH: Radijs.
FINNISH: Retiisi, Retikka, Ruokaretikka.
FRENCH: Radis.
GERMAN: Rettich, Garten-Rettich, Radieschen.
GREEK: Rapani.
HEBREW: Tznonit.
HINDI: Mulla, Mooli, Muli, Mūlī.
ITALIAN: Rafano, Ravanello.
JAPANESE: (Yas) Hatsuka daikon, Radeisshu.
KHMER: Chhaay thaaw.
LAOTIAN: Kaad khaaw.
MALAY: Lobak.
MARATHI: Mūlaka.
PERSIAN: Torobcheh.
POLISH: Rzodkiew, Rzodkiewka.
RUSSIAN: ed’ka ogorodnaia, Red’ka posevnaia.
SANSKRIT: Muulaka.
SERBIAN: Rotkvica.
SLOVANIAN: Retkvica.
SPANISH: Rábano, Rabanito.
SWEDISH: Rädisa.
TAMIL: Muulam, Mullangki.
THAI: Hua phak kat khao, Hua chai táo,
URDU: Mūlī.
VIETNAMESE: Củ cải , Củ dền , Radi.

Radish is a coarse, annual crop plant. Roots are fleshy, pungent and variable in size and form. Leaves are roughly hairy, the lower ones lyrate. Flowers are variable, about 1.5 centimeters long, usually white or lilac, with purple veins, sepals erect, lateral ones saccate at the base. Pod is indehiscent, lanceolate, cylindrical, and 2 to 2.6 centimeters in length, and terminates in a long beak. Seeds are separated by pith.


– Widely cultivated in the world at all altitudes.

Medicinal Properties of radish

· Considered anthelmintic, antifungal, antibacterial, antiscorbutic, diuretic, laxative, tonic, carminative, corrective, stomachic, cholagogue, lithotriptic, emmenagogue.

· The juice of the fresh root is considered powerfully antiscorbutic.

· Roots considered carminative and corrective.

· Flowers considered becnic and cholagogue.

· Seeds considered diuretic, laxative, stimulant, and lithotriptic.

· In Iranian traditional medicine, seeds are considered diuretic carminative, anti-fever, antitussive and gastric tonic. Study yielded ten isothiocyanates, seven aliphatic hydrocarbons and some volatile substances.


• Phytochemical study yielded triterpenes, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponin and coumarins.

• Study for volatile constituents yielded 10 isothicyanates, seven aliphatic hydrocarbons and some other volatile substances.

• Root yields raphanol, rettichol, volatile oil, methylmercaptan, vitamins B1, sinapin and oxydase.

• Seeds yield fatty oil (30%), ash (3.5%), volatile oil, sulphuric acid, erucic acid and C8H15NS2.

• Methanol extraction yielded two new compounds identified as β-sitosterol and 1-O-(β-D-glucopyranosyl)-(2S, 3S, 4R, 8E)-2-[(2’R)-2′-hydroxyltetracos-15′-enoylamino]-8-octa-decene-1, 3, 4-triol.

• Fractionation of methanol extract of seeds yielded seven 4-methylthio-butanyl derivatives, viz., sinapoyl desulfoglucoraphenin (1), (E)-5-(methylsulfinyl)pent-4-enoxylimidic acid methyl ester (2), and (S)-5-([methylsulfinyl)methyl]pyrrolidine-2-thione (3), together with four known compounds, 5-(methylsulfinyl)-4-pentenenitrile (4), 5-(methylsulfinyl)-pentanenitrile (5), sulforaphene (6), and sulforaphane (7).

• Fresh vegetable yields 91.00% moisture; seeds on extraction with petroleum ether yield albuminoids 18.00%, soluble carbohydrates 52.66%, woody fiber 9.34%, and ash 16.00%. (Nadkarni, 1954)

Parts utilized

· Whole plant.

· When seeds are ripe, harvest the whole plant, sun-dry, remove the seeds and dry again. Crush on use. Roots can also be sun-dried for use.

Edibility / Nutrition

– Leaves, flowers, roots, and seeds are edible.

– A popular, common, and inexpensive vegetable, eaten raw or cooked.

– Young leaves are also eaten raw or cooked.

Excellent source of iron, ascorbic acid, folic acid, and potassium; a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper and calcium.

Folkloric traditional medicine uses, remedies and benefits of radish

· For diarrhea: boil the fresh leaves to concentrated decoction and drink.

· Juice of leaves increases the flow of urine and promotes bowel movements.

· Juice of fresh leaves also used as laxative; also for dropsy and general anasarca.

· Root considered stimulant; also used for piles and stomach pains.

· Juice used to expel wind from the bowels.

· Juice of fresh roots considered antiscorbutic.

· Roots are crushed and applied locally as dressing or poultice for burns, scalds, ecchymoses, or fetid or smelly feet.

· Decoction of root used for fevers.

· Decoction of roots used to bring out the rash in eruptive fevers.

· Coughs: Decoction of flowers; or, boil 6 to 15 gms seed preparation to decoction and drink.

· Seeds promote the flow of urine, bowel movements, and menstruation.

· Seeds used for cancer of the stomach.

· For patients with edema, bloated belly (ascites), pale yellowish face, and oliguria: used dried root preparation with citrus rind preparation (5:1 proportion). Boil to a concentrated decoction and drink.

· In Mexico, black radish has been used for treatment of gallstones and for decreasing blood lipids.

· In India, plant used as purgative, stimulant, antiscorbutic, diuretic and lithotryptic. Roots used for piles, gastric pains, dysuria and strangury. Seeds used as expectorant, diuretic, laxative, and carminative. (see study)

Other uses

· Repellent

Scientific proven facts about uses of radish

Histaminergic / Spasmolytic:

Pharmacological basis for the gut stimulatory activity of Raphanus sativus leaves: A study on the crude extract of RS leaves showed the presence of a histaminergic component plus a weak spasmolytic factor supporting its traditional use for constipation.

Toxicity Report:

Severe Toxic Hepatitis Provoked by Squeezed Black Radish (Raphanus Sativus) Juice – Case Report: Cited in phytotherapy literature as a plant with hepatoprotective properties, this reports a severe toxic hepatitis from use of black radish extract to dissolve bile duct stone.

Hepatoprotective / protects liver:

Studies on Raphanus sativus as Hepatoprotective Agents (Thesis): Results showed the ethanolic extract of RS contain hepatoprotective constituents.


Study of crude powder of Raphanus sativus leaves reduced the risk of liver damage by paracetamol.

Antiurolithiatic Activity / Diuretic:

Study of aqueous extract of the bark of RS on rats showed a significant decrease in the weight of stones. Study also showed an increase in 24 hour urine volume compared to control.

Water Phenol Decontamination:

Decontamination of Water Polluted with Phenol Using Raphanus sativus Root: Plant materials have been used in decontamination of water polluted with phenolic compounds. The study used RS roots (root juice and pieces). Results showed good phenol removal from aqueous solutions with cut R sativus root and juice.

Antioxidant / Lipid Peroxidation Inhibition:

Study of methanol extract of RS showed inhibition of lipid peroxidation in vivo and in vitro, providing protection by strengthening antioxidants like glutathione and catalase. Results suggest inclusion of the plant in every day diet may be beneficial.

Phytochemicals / Toxicity Study / Hepatoprotective Activity:

Study of showed carbon tetrachloride induced hepatotoxicity was reduced by the plant as showed by inhibition of increased liver enzyme activities and bilirubin concentration together with histopath changes. Toxicity study showed no adverse effect on livers. Phytochemical studies yielded triterpenes, alklaoids, flavanoids, tannins, saponins and coumarins.

Phytochemicals / Gastroprotective:

Study of the freshly squeezed radish juice for its anti-gastric ulcer activity in experimental models showed it possessed gastroprotective potential related to mucus secretion stimulation and an increase in nonproteinsulfhydryl (NP-SH) concentration, probably due to prostaglandin-inducing abilities mediated through antioxidant activity. Phytochemicals study yielded flavonoids, anthocyanins and sulfurated constituents.

Antioxidant / Choleretic:

Study of extract from radish sprouts in rats showed antioxidant properties and significantly induced bile flow.


Study showed that the sprouts of Japanese radish has the potential to alleviate hyperglycemia and may serve in the primary prevention of diabetes mellitus.

Spasmogenic Effect:

In vitro study was done to evaluate the effects of crude extracts of roots on isolated rat trachea. Results showed significant cholinergic spasmogenic effects.

Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Toxicity:

Study of a crude extract of seed showed hepatoprotective effect against liver damage induced by CCl4.

Antilithiasic / Hypolipidemic Effect:

Study evaluated the effect of juice squeezed from black radish root in cholesterol gallstones and serum lipids in mice. A lithogenic diet induced cholesterol gallstones and increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Juice treatment caused significant eradication of cholesterol gallstones, together with decrease in cholesterol and triglycerides., with an increase in HDL.

Antimicrobial / Root Juice:

Study evaluated R. sativus root juice for antimicrobial potential against five bacterial strains, viz. Klebsiella pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus faecalis, and Escherichia. Results showed considerable antimicrobial activity against all tested microorganisms.

Antibacterial / Seed Extract:

Study evaluated the potentiality of different solvent extracts against various pathogenic strains, viz. E coli, K pneumonia, P vulgaris, P aeruginosa, Shigella sonnie, S typhi and S paratyphi. The highest activity was seen in ethanol and methanol extracts. The effect could be secondary to extracted active compounds like flavonoids, phenolic compounds, saponins, and other secondary metabolites.

Anti-Inflammatory / Root Extract:

Study evaluated the effect of a root extract on anti-inflammatory activity in rats using a carrageenan induced paw edema model. The hydroalcoholic extract showed potent anti-inflammatory activity which may be due to the presence of flavonoids, phytosterols, and tannins and also inhibition of inflammatory mediators ( histamine, serotonin, prostaglandins, bradykinin, substance P, etc.)

Hepatoprotective / protects liver / CCl4-Induced Toxicity:

Study evaluated the hepatoprotective activity of radish enzyme extract in vitro and in vivo test. Results showed the enzyme extract can significantly diminish hepatic damage by toxic agents such as tacrine or CCl4.

Study of crude extract of seeds in doses of 600 and 800 mg/kg may be protective against liver damage caused by CCl4.

Antidiabetic / Root Juice:

Study of R. sativus root juice for glycemic attributes showed good hypoglycemic potential coupled with antidiabetic efficacy.

Laxative / Leaf:

Study evaluated aqueous extract and fresh juice for laxative action using wistar albino rats in various experimental models such as loperamide induced constipation, laxative activity test, gastrointestinal motility test and water and electrolyze secretion test. Results showed significant laxative activity at higher dose of 750 mg/kg.

Anti-Inflammatory / Leaf and Root Juice:

Study evaluated freshly squeezed leaf and root juice in for anti-inflammatory activity in albino rats. While both leaf juice and root juice significantly reduced carrageenan and formalin induced paw edema in rats, the root juice produced more significant anti-inflammatory effects in both acute and chronic models of inflammation. However, the effect was less than standard drug diclofenac sodium.

Antinociceptive / reduces sensitivity to pain / Roots:

Study evaluated the antinociceptive potential of methanolic extract of roots in intraperitoneally administered acetic acid induced pain model in mice. Results showed significant antinociceptive activity, with the highest extract dose nearly comparable to the highest dose of aspirin.

Triglyceride Effect:

Study of aqueous extract showed lowering of plasma triglyceride, but had no effect on plasma glucose or cholesterol.

α- Amylase and α- Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity:

Study of ethanolic extract and fractions showed dose dependent inhibition of α-amylase and α-glucosidase enzyme, exhibiting lower inhibitory activity than acarbose. Results suggest potential for antidiabetic therapy and development of medicinal preparations, nutraceuticals, and function foods for diabetes.

Glucocerebroside / Anti-Cancer:

Methanol extraction yielded two compounds determined to be 1-O-(β-D-glucopyranosyl)-(2S, 3S, 4R, 8E)-2-[(2’R)-2′-hydroxyl-tetracos-15′-enoyl amino]-8-octa-decene- 1, 3, 4-triol (glucocerebroside). The glucocerebroside could inhibit the growth of BEL-7402 cancer cells and induce apoptosis in these cells.

4-Methylthio-butanyl Derivatives / Seeds / Anti-Cancer / Anti-Inflammatory:

Study evaluated seed extracts for anti-inflammatory and antitumor activities. Fractionation yielded seven 4-methylthio-butanyl derivatives. Compound 1 (sinapoyl desulfoglucoraphenin) inhibited nitric oxide production. All compounds showed antiproliferative activities against four human tumor cell lines.

Cardioprotective / good for heart / Antioxidant:

Study evaluated water and ethanolic extracts of fruit powder for cardioprotective activity in Cyclosporin-induced ischemia in rabbits. The powder and aqueous extract significantly decreased (P<0.001) the uric acid and activity of enzymes (SGOT and LDH) in treated rabbits. Both fruit powder and aqueous extract showed dose-dependent in vitro free radical scavenging effect on DPPH assay.

Antifertility Effects:

Study on R. sativus showed antifertility activity. In male rates, study showed a decrease in sperm count, motility, and weight of testis and epididymis. In female rats, it disturbed the estrous cycle and decreased the number of implantation, average number of pups delivered, average weight of the pups, number of corpus lutea, and weight of ovary. Results suggest a potential as antifertility agent.

Phytoremediation / Copper:

Based on bioaccumulation coefficient (BAC) analysis, mustard and radish can be considered high accumulator plants for Cu. Radish has been shown to produce 10 times more biomass than the other three plant studies, and accumulation of copper was higher in the root tissue of radish and mustard.

Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves / reduces pain, inflammation, and swelling:

Study evaluated the analgesic (hot plate and tail immersion) and anti-inflammatory (carrageenan) activities of R. sativus leaves in animal model. Results showed significant (p<0.05) dose-dependent analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities.

Phytoremediation / Lead:

Pot culture experiments using radish investigated lead (Pb) phytotoxic effects on antioxidant enzymes and other early warming biomarkers of soil Pb exposure. Results showed radish is a hyperaccumulator plant that can concentrate heavy metals in different parts, with potential use for remediation of polluted areas.

Anticarcinogenic / Galactan / Colon Cancer: Study evaluated the anti-carcinogenic effect of Raphanus sativus in combating chemically (DMH) induced colon cancer. Results showed RS significantly reduced serum CEA (p<0.01) and CA19-9 (p<0.01) as evidence of anticarcinogenic effect. Results showed the galactan polysaccharide of RS has pronounced cytotoxic effects on colon cancer cell line and might be a suitable candidate as chemopreventive and adjuvant therapy for colon cancer.



Commercial cultivation; ubiquitous in market places.

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