Skip to comments.wasabi can't clear your sinuses but it has health benefits
Posted on 09/20/2004 6:20:03 PM PDT by modest proposal
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many people believe the sushi-seasoner wasabi clears their sinuses, but new research presented this week suggests that the spicy green paste may do the opposite.
U.S. researchers found that eating wasabi appeared to increase congestion in a small group of healthy volunteers, despite the fact that participants said they thought that the spice had cleared their nasal passages.
"Actually, wasabi is a congestant," study author Dr. David S. Cameron told Reuters Health. "It makes the space of your nasal passages smaller, but it makes you feel more open."
Cameron explained that wasabi probably clogs up sinuses by increasing blood flow to the lining of the nose. That extra blood takes up space, he said, which constricts the nasal passageway.
Wasabi may make the nose feel more open, Cameron noted, by causing changes that increase the cooling effect of air breathed through the nose, or by stimulating flaring of the nostrils, which enables air to flow more easily though the nose.
Cameron and his team will present their findings Tuesday during the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation annual meeting in New York City.
Wasabi is made by grinding the stems of the Wasabia japonica plant into a paste. This plant belongs to the same family of plants as broccoli, cabbage and mustard.
While wasabi may not work as a decongestant, previous research has suggested that it is not without other health benefits. For instance, lab research shows that wasabi may inhibit the growth of cancer cells in test tubes, prevent platelets from forming blood clots, and may even fight asthma or cavities. And, appropriately for a condiment used to season raw fish, wasabi has antimicrobial properties.
During the current study, Cameron and his colleagues from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, California asked 22 people to dissolve a lentil-sized amount of wasabi on their tongues multiple times at one-minute intervals, and then report whether the spice affected their sinuses. The researchers also used a device to objectively measure participants' nasal congestion before and after tasting wasabi.
Cameron explained that he and his colleagues used the minimum amount of wasabi needed to cause burning in the nose, a hallmark of the ingredient.
Although people believed that wasabi helped open their nasal passages, it actually appeared to increase congestion.
"If you love wasabi, keep eating it," Cameron said. "But if you want to recommend it as a decongestant, think twice."
I've found Vicks VapORub works pretty good and is not bad on eel.
oh its emotion eric. that guy is funny
Real men eat Habeneros. ;-)
I'm not sure about their data, when I eat Wasabi or Horseraddish, they truly clear my sinuses. Love the burn too!
apparently that is all an illusion due to "nostril flaring" lol.
Who needs rice.
Next they'll tell my TomYam does'nt clear my sinuses eather.
Among the many interesting aspects of being a scientific researcher, objectively measuring nasal congestion can't really be near the top of the list.
Wasabi is a key ingredient in rocket fuel.
Wasabi, pickled ginger and sashimi.......yum. Had some last Friday and ate a lot of wasabi. And it did clear my sinuses.
I'll never forget my first experience with wasabi. My wife knew what it was and didn't warn me before I put a nickle size portion in my mouth.
Wasabi powder is my secret ingredient for Bloody Marys. Although it is not yet widely recognized, I make the world's best.
Stop it, you are making me hungry.
Real men (and women) not only eat them, but grow several varieties of them!!!!!!!
You're making me hungry!!!!!!!!!!
Real men snort habenero seeds
(With extra wasabi sauce!)
A friend of ours just got my husband and I hooked on sashimi. I've always had an aversion to uncooked meat and fish but I am mad about raw tuna. It has become our nightly appetizer and I whip up a mean wasabi. My husband isn't happy unless he feels the burn.
Try it in mashed potaoes! YUM!
When I was a teenager I had a Japanese friend do that to me. I would have killed him, if I could have moved!
"In the last twenty years, because of low supply of fresh Wasabi rhizomes, substitutes made of mixtures of horseradish, mustard and food coloring have taken the place of freshly prepared Wasabi. Other parts of the Wasabi plant are also used. The leaves and petioles are picked or can be powdered for use as Wasabi flavoring, used now in many foods. "
that article you posted said most of the wasabi you get in restaurants is just horseradish with food coloring added.
Why do I have the feeling, somewhere along the line, my tax dollars paid for this study?
Tuna is also my favorite sashimi. It's fresh and natural unlike the salmon which is fish farmed. Powdered mustard can substitute for wasabi. I like the rice but sushi has too much of it.
These days most restaurant tuna for sashimi has been flash frozen at very low temperatures to keep it at it's peak. So it can be shipped inland. This also kills of any bacteria.
Nickle sized? You were lucky. The first time I had wasabi, I was eating alone, w/no one to warn me. I thought it was beautiful, all cool green. I put a big ole, mashed potato sized, forkful in my mouth with no idea what it was, but how bad could it be, right?
That'll learn me.
For years when I've had migraines due to allergies, I've used Pepsi or Coke and large amounts of wasabi to clear my sinuses and relieve my headaches (I can't do decongestants due to prostate). I love wasabi on my salmon burritos.
However, wasabi leads to raw fish, which leads to Mercury (methyl Hg) poisoning. I've had to quit all fish for six months since I'm 44.3 ug/L. It's the coal fired plants. More nukes.
I had a Holliday Express moment at lunch with some work friends. Someone asked me what the little blob of green stuff on his plate was. Being the helpful person that I am, I told him it is wasabi, made from the eyes of flying fish... very expensive delicacy... if you don't want it, I'd be happy to take it.
About a month later, a japanese coworker walked up to me with a smile and said "flying fish eyes?"
We had a good chuckle.
But more nukes less kooks anyhow.
Isn't this that religion from Saudi Arabia that has been causing all the trouble?
That's really funny.
We love the stuff in this house -- but what would you expect from folks who don't think twice about growing 15 different varieties of hot peppers in the garden? which reminds me - I've got to get out there in the morning and get to pickin'!!!!!!!
For some strange reason the peppers were about the only things that survived the flooding and deer this summer.
baloney- they obviously did not try it
You're right, more nukes, less kooks - and Jane Fonda goes down more than nuclear plants.
Nasal Rush bump!
That's because fresh Wasabi straight kills everything it comes into contact with.
I love Wasabi. Awesome on steaks too!
There may be a link between the dialated blood vessels discovered in the article and migraine relief. I had bad migraines with nausea and find sushi to be a great help. I attributed the nausea relief to the ginger, but there may be more to it!
Almost passed out from it one wild night about 15 years ago near Jimbocho train station.
Wasabi with soy sauce and charcoal broiled Brats! mmmmmmmmmm!
I thought it was avocado dip once, scooped up and ate a ton and almost died.
wasabi bump !!!
Believe it or not there are two great sushi places out here on the prairie ...neither affiliated with a bait shop.
I love it now. Like another poster, I use it in my Bloody Marys.