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Wasabi (Wasabia japonica)

Generic Name: Wasabia

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Allyl isothiocyanate, alpha-tocopherol, Brassicaceae (family), Cochlearia wasabi, desulfosinigrin, Eutrema japonica, Eutrema wasabi Maxim, isothiocyanates, Japanese domestic horseradish, Japanese spice, Japanese wasabi, Korean wasabi, wasabi-derived 6-(methylsulfinyl)hexyl isothiocyanate, Wasabi japonica, Wasabi japonica Matsum, wasabi leafstalk, wasabi powder, wasabi roots, Wasabia japonica.

Note: This monograph does not include horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), which is a common substitute for wasabi.

Background

The wasabi plant grows naturally along stream beds in mountain river valleys in Japan, but is cultivated in certain regions in Japan and North America. Traditionally, the root is shredded to create a pungent condiment used with fish, especially sushi. In laboratory studies, wasabi has inhibited cancer cell growth and survival. However, one wasabi constituent also promoted cancer cell growth. Wasabi has also shown anti-inflammatory activity, antiplatelet activity, and anabolic bone metabolism activity in laboratory tests. However, there is currently insufficient available evidence in humans to support the use of wasabi for any indication.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Analgesia, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-platelet agent (blood thinner), cancer, detoxification, food preservation, food uses, gastric ulcers, leukemia, melanoma prevention, osteoporosis.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older):

There is no proven effective dose for wasabi in adults.

Children (younger than 18 years):

There is no proven effective dose for wasabi in children.

Safety

DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Allergies

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to wasabi (Wasabia japonica) or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings

Wasabi is likely safe when ingested in food amounts, based on use in Japanese cuisine. However, in the currently available literature, reports of adverse effects due to wasabi are lacking. Wasabi is commonly used for its sharp, spicy flavor, which is due to the stimulation of neurons associated with painful cold sensations. Use cautiously in patients using capsaicin-based analgesics applied to the skin, as topical wasabi may produce pain and activate the same neurons as capsaicin.

Wasabi may have anti-H. pylori activity.

Use cautiously in patients with cancer or a predisposition to cancer, those taking agents metabolized by the liver, or those with coagulation (blood) disorders.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Wasabi is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

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