If you like Japanese food you may by now know what Wasabi is, or at least guess because not many people knows where this strong greenish condiment known as Wasabi comes from.
Wasabi (わさび（山葵）), originally 和佐比, Wasabia japonica or Eutrema japonica, also commonly known as Japanese horseradish, is is one of the most popular spices in many Asian countries, especially in Korea and Japan , a plant member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbages, horseradish, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and mustard . The root of Wasabia japonica is used as the source of an extremely spicy condiment used in many Japanese traditional dishes as sushi or sashimi. The name Wasabi translates from the Japanese as "mountain hollyhock" .
Wasabi rhizome is a very popular pungent spice in Japan, where it has been used to treat rheumatic arthralgia, through promoting blood circulation and alleviation of pain , and it is known that some of the active constituents found on it, namely the Isothiocyanates, exert also anti-cancer properties. Other physiological functions found in Wasabi include its use as appetite enhancer . One of the facts that differences Wasabi from other Brassicaceae species is its higher concentration of Isothiocyanates (ITCs), especially long-chain ITCs .
Isothiocyanates are other plant extracts with flavoring properties that are arising as promising antimicrobial agents, with activities often rivaling synthetic chemicals . Image left: Wasabi by Adrian8_8 under Creative Common license (CC BY 2.0).
Common name: Wasabi, Mountain hollyhock, Yunnan horseradish, Yunnan wasabi .