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HORSERADISH (Ger. Meerrettig ; Fr. ra...

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Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 738 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HORSERADISH (Ger. Meerrettig ; Fr. raifort = ravine forte, crap de Bretagne ; Swed. Pepper-rot ; Russ. chren), known botanically as Cochlearia Armoracia, a perennial plant of the natural order Cruciferae, having a stout cylindrical rootstock from the crown of which spring large radical leaves on long stalks, 4 to 6 in. broad, and about a foot in length with a deeply crenate margin, and coarsely veined; the stem-leaves are short-stalked or sessile, elongated and tapering to their attachment, the lower ones often deeply toothed. The flowers, which appear in May and June, are in. in width, in flat-topped panicles, with purplish sepals and white petals; the fruit is a small silicula, which does not ripen in the climate of England. The horse-radish is indigenous to eastern Europe. Into western Europe and Great Britain, where it is to be met with on waste ground, it was probably introduced. It was wild in various parts of England in Gerard's time. The root, the armoraciae radix of pharmacy, is - to 2 in. or more in diameter, and commonly 1 ft., sometimes 3 ft. in length; the upper part is enlarged into a crown, which is annulated with the scars of fallen leaves; and from the numerous irregular lateral branches are produced vertical stolons, and also adventitious buds, which latter render the plant very difficult of extirpation. From the root of Aconite (q.v.), which has occasionally been mistaken for it, horseradish root differs in being More or less cylindrical from a little below the crown, and in its pale yellowish (or brownish) white hue externally, acrid and penetrating odour when scraped or bruised, and xrll. 24 II pungent and either sweetish or bitter taste. Under the influence of a ferment which it contains, the fresh root yields on distillation with water about •o5 % of a volatile oil, butyl sulphocyanide, C4H9CNS. After drying, the root has been found to afford 11.15 % of ash. Horseradish root is an ingredient in the spiritus armoraciae compositus (dose 1-2 drachms) of the British Pharmacopoeia. It is an agreeable flavouring agent. In common with other species of Cochlearia, the horseradish was formerly in high repute as an antiscorbutic. The root was, as well as the leaves, taken with food by the Germans in the middle ages, whence the old French name for it, moutarde des Allemands; and Coles, writing in 1657, mentions its use with meat in England, where it is still chiefly employed as a condiment with beef. For the successful cultivation of the horseradish, a light and friable damp soil is the most suitable; this having been trenched 3 ft. deep in autumn, and the surface turned down with a liberal supply of farm-yard manure, a second dressing of decomposed manure should in the ensuing spring be dug in 2 ft. deep, and pieces of the root 6 in. in length may then be planted a foot apart in narrow trenches. During summer the ground requires to be kept free of weeds; and the application of liquid manure twice or thrice in sufficient quantity to reach the lowest roots is an advantage. When dug the root may be long preserved in good condition by placing it in sand. See Gerard, Herball, p. 240, ed. Johnson (1636) ; Fluckiger and Hanbury, Pharmacographia, p. 71 (2nd ed., 1879); Bentley and Trimen, Med. Pl., i. 21 (188o). HORSE-SHOES. The horny casing of the foot of the horse and other Solidungulates, while quite sufficient to protect the extremity of the limb under natural conditions, is found to wear away and break, especially in moist climates, when the animal is subjected to hard work of any kind. This, however, can be obviated by the simple device of attaching to the hoof a rim of iron, adjusted to the shape of the hoof. The animal itself has been in a very marked manner modified by shoeing, for without this we could have had neither the fleet racers nor the heavy and powerful cart-horses of the present day. Though the ancients were sufficiently impressed by the damage done to horses' hoofs to devise certain forms of covering for them (in the shape of socks or sandals), the practice of nailing iron plates or rim-shoes to the hoof does not appear to have been introduced earlier than the 2nd century B.C., and was not commonly known till the close of the 5th century A.D., or in regular use till the middle ages. The evidence for the earlier date depends on the doubtful interpretations of designs on coins, &c. As time went on, how-ever, the profession of the farrier and the art of the shoesmith gradually grew in importance. It was only in the loth century that horse-shoeing was introduced in Japan, where the former practice was to attach to the horse's feet slippers of straw, which were renewed when necessary, a custom which may indicate the usage of early peoples. In modern times much attention has been devoted to horse-shoeing by veterinary science, with the result of showing that methods formerly adopted caused cruel injury to horses and serious loss to their owners. The evils resulted from (1) paring the sole and frog; (2) applying shoes too heavy and of faulty shape; (3) employing too many and too large nails; (4) applying shoes too small and removing the wall of the hoof to make the feet fit the shoes, and (5) rasping the front of the hoof. In rural districts, where the art of the farrier is combined with general blacksmith work, too little attention is apt to be given to considerations which have an important bearing on the comfort, usefulness and life of the horse. According to modern principles (1) shoes should be as light as compatible with the wear demanded of them; (2) the ground face of the shoe should be concave, and the face applied to the foot plain; (3) heavy draught horses alone should have toe and heel calks on their shoes to increase foothold; (4) the excess growth of the wall or outer portion of horny matter should only be re-moved in re-shoeing, care being taken to keep both sides of the hoof of equal height; (5) the shoe should fit accurately to the circumference of the hoof, and project slightly beyond the heel; (6) the shoes should be fixed with as few nails as possible, six orseven in fore-shoes and eight in hind-shoes, and (7) the nails should take a short thick hold of the wall, so that old nail-holes may be removed with the natural growth and paring of the horny matter. Horse-shoes and nails are now made with great economy by machinery, and special forms of shoe or plate are made for race-horses and trotters, or to suit abnormalities of the hoof.
End of Article: HORSERADISH (Ger. Meerrettig ; Fr. raifort = ravine forte, crap de Bretagne ; Swed. Pepper-rot ; Russ. chren)
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