Real Health

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Years ago we were seeing a natural practitioner when I had an infection. He handed me a bottle of Black Spanish Radish and nodded his head when I looked on the back and it read “Ingredients: Black Spanish Radish”. So it’s just radishes? A couple dozen of those little tablets and a few days later and that infection was completely gone.

So they are good for infections, but apparently also a host of other things. (As are all radishes… and cucumbers and celery and lettuce and all of those other vegetables we often think of as “mostly water”. There are some amazing compounds in vegetables, especially when they are the more heirloom varieties grown in good soil. But don’t get me started…)

The question, though, was could we grow them? A few years ago we threw a packet of these seeds into our cart and grew a hand full of them in the fall. They are generally considered more of a winter radish and seem to handle the cold pretty well.

This fall we planted a couple of beds with a mix of Black Spanish Radish, turnips, and watermelon radishes. The Black Spanish and turnips were very prolific and we’ve been eating them in salads or medicinally for the past couple of months. In fact, we fed some to Mabel when she started showing the earliest signs of mastitis and while there is no way of saying for sure, it never went beyond the early stages.

But a week or two ago it was time to prep the garden for spring. Abram and Ruthie gladly volunteered for the job and an hour or so later they brought in a five-gallon bucket about half full of the remaining radishes and turnips. Some were a bit soft at the top where they had protruded from the soil and met the coldest of temperatures, but most of them were still good and crisp.

So I cut off the softer parts, sliced them up, and Joshie used his pudgy little fist to stuff jars for fermentation. It’s cool enough that I like to use about 1.5 Tablespoons of salt per quart of vegetables at this time of year. Water and a fermentation weight and onto the counter they go. We are grateful that these spicy little guys will be available for medicinal snacking for some time to come.

Have you tried growing Black Spanish Radish?

As with most modern things, what you see is rarely what you get. Here is a snippet from a recent Diverse Health Services blog post worth reading:

“In the early twentieth century, investigators began discovering that certain noncaloric elements in food, or vitamins, are required for the proper functioning of the body. Chemists, following the reductionist thinking of the time, assumed that each vitamin was a single chemical compound, and soon the scientists were not just claiming to have identified these single chemicals but were synthesizing and selling them to the public as nutrients.

There was a problem, however. When nutrition researchers compared the effects of synthetic vitamins with vitamins in food, they discovered that the former did not truly duplicate the action of the latter. In fact, synthetic vitamins appeared to cause some rather troubling health effects. But with the upstart investigators no match for the powerful pharmaceutical companies profiting from synthetic vitamins, this truth was effectively withheld from the public.

Dr. Royal Lee illustrates the profound differences between synthetic and natural vitamins by comparing the single chemical ascorbic acid—what is commonly considered vitamin C today—and natural vitamin C, a synergistic complex of compounds that includes not just ascorbic acid but assorted bioflavonoids, vitamin K, and tyrosinase, an enzyme so critical to adrenal health that it was declared the “active principle” of vitamin C by the country’s top endocrinologist at the time. Over half a century later, Dr. Lee’s words are still as revolutionary as they are illuminating:

OK, natural vs. synthetic.   Let’s start with Vitamin C.   Most sources equate vitamin C with ascorbic acid, as though they were the same thing.   They’re not.   Ascorbic acid is an isolate, a fraction, a distillate of naturally occurring vitamin C.   In addition to ascorbic acid, vitamin C must include rutin, bioflavonoids, Factor K, Factor J, Factor P, Tyrosinase, Ascorbinogen, and other components as shown in the figure below… read more.