Scientific name: Eutrema Japonica
Common name: Wasabi
user “Everjean” from Flickr.com
Japan is the main culture it is used in today
Wasabi is primarily used in foods as a flavoring or condiment. It has a very strong flavor so only small amounts are used. It is also used in Japanese folk medicine for treating inflammation. It also contains antibacterial chemicals, mainly an enzyme called myrosinase, which is usually used to preserve fish and seafood. When the stem of the wasabi plant is grated it releases Allyl Mustard Oil which is what gives it the strong taste and smell. However, this only last approximately 15 minutes after being grated and will soon lose its potency.
Wasabi is said to be one of the hardest plants to grow commercially. The conditions it is used to, mountainous stream beds, is very hard to recreate on a large scale. This makes it very expensive, selling for as much as 160$ a kilogram. This means that most of what is usually sold as wasabi is actually colored horseradish with green dye. Fresh wasabi has been shown to have many health benefits and has high levels of protein, fiber, vitamins B6 and C, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Also there is an enzyme found in wasabi that has shown is research studies to have many health benefits. These include being anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, able to prevent blood clots, and has been shown to help fight some forms of cancer.
Gittleson, K. (2014, September 18). Wasabi: Why Invest in the Hardest Plant to Grow? Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29082091
Health Benefits of Wasabi. (2015).
Retrieved December 1, 2015, from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-wasabi.html
Secrets of Wasabi. (2014).
Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://www.sbfoods-worldwide.com/foodCulture/wasabi/secret.html