View Full Version : Wasabi

John Lindsey
25th February 2002, 02:34
This thread is for the discussion of Wasabi: Recipes, horror stories, and health issues are all open subjects.

Here is some information on the Wasabi as health food. The complete text can be found at www.freshwasabi.com


The chemicals in Fresh Wasabi have been applied in food uses but may also have medical benefits.

The medicinal values of chemicals extracted from Wasabi were first documented in the Japanese medicinal encyclopedia during the 10th century (Hodges, 1974). Biocidally active chemicals in Wasabi are said to act as an antidote to food poisoning, one factor that might have led to the use of Wasabi with raw fish dishes in Japan.

Hydration of a glucoside (sinigrin) by the enzyme myrosinase results in the production of Wasabi's special flavor component, an allyl isothiocyanate, the major pungent component. We all experience this in the form of that heat rush up our noses when eating Wasabi with our sushi! The components that give Wasabi its flavor are 6-methylthiohexyl isothiocyanate, 7-methylthioheptyl isothiocyanate and 8-methylthioocytl isothiocyanate (Ina et al., 1989). Scientists are now discovering that these Wasabi isothiocyanates may have important medical benefits.

Today research is being conducted both in the United States and in Japan as to the potential medical benefit of Wasabi. Researchers say that the isothiocyanates in Wasabi, not only inhibit microbes, but can also help treat or prevent blood clotting, asthma and even cancer. (J. A. Depree, T.M. Howard & G.P. Savage, Food Research International Vol 31, No5, pp.329-337, 1999). Wasabi has even been known to prevent tooth decay. (Hideki Masuda, Ph.D. 2000).

Depree, Howard & Savage report on the testing done regarding isothiocyanates found in Wasabi on the inhibition of platelet aggregation and for deaggregation. It was found that in the case of a heart attack, where aspirin is commonly prescribed, the isothiocyanates had an immediate effect as opposed to the thirty minutes for aspirin. This anti-inflammatory effect could potentially be used to counter conditions such as asthma or even anaphylaxis.

Research has also been undertaken regarding isothiocyanates in Wasabi and anti-cancer properties. Tests have been done with stomach tumors in rats. It was found that some isothiocyanates have a protective role against breast, stomach and colon cancers (Wattenberg, 1977,1981). It was also found that human stomach cancer cells underwent morphological alterations and many died when cultured in media containing a concentration of an aqueous extract from Wasabi. (J.A. Depree, T.M. Howard & G.P. Savage, 2000).

Released in December 2000 in Hawaii, Hideki Masuda reported that chemical compounds found in Wasabi (isothiocyanates) inhibited the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that cause dental cavities during test-tube studies. This is due to the Wasabi's ability to interfere with the sucrose-dependent adherence of cells. (The 2000 International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basis Societies, Hawaii, December 2000)

25th February 2002, 02:39
Not sure if this helps.

For me Wasabi is nothing else than green raddish.

Tastes nearly the same as the white stuff we got back home.

As for Horror stories, most japanese get green in the face when I eat a whole teaspoon full in one go.

But than I also simply love Kimchee. :D

John Lindsey
25th February 2002, 02:44

They say that a lot of the wasabi sold today is not true wasabi, but imitation stuff. Heck, I am not even sure if I have ever had the real thing or not, since they all remined me of horseradish as well!

25th February 2002, 02:45
Originally posted by red_fists
Not sure if this helps.

For me Wasabi is nothing else than green raddish.

Tastes nearly the same as the white stuff we got back home.

As for Horror stories, most japanese get green in the face when I eat a whole teaspoon full in one go.

But than I also simply love Kimchee. :D

I'm parading my ignorance here, but can you explain why one would eat a teaspoonful of the stuff, or why Japanese people get green in the face from that? Is it a cultural tabu not to use the stuff straight or something, or is there something I'm missing?

Rahul Bhattacharya

25th February 2002, 03:03

I have been to places where I simly got the root and a grater.
(You get to take the uneaten root home.)
And that stuff is more potent than the one sold in the Tubes.


Most Japanese seem to consider Wasabi too strong to be eaten in large quantities.
A lot of Japanese even flinch at the Wasabi used in some Sushi.

MY Wife aswell eats very litle Wasabi.

I eat the spoonfull simply because I love the stuff.

25th February 2002, 05:41
STUD!!! A TEASPOON full of the Green Death?

You ROCK man! Gonna have to show that one off on the 17th!

25th February 2002, 06:27
17th sounds like a good day to face the green Death while drowning in the green brew.

Anybody else game??

How about the Birthday boy??
:D :D

25th February 2002, 13:49
My first experience with wasabi was also my first experience with sushi, over 20+ years ago.

There I was, working overtime on a weekend, in the lonely, deserted cafeteria of a Wall Street law firm. Before me was a small bento box I'd picked up for lunch from one of the few restaurants nearby open on a Sunday.

Nobody told me what that little green mound in the box was, and nobody TOLD me I shouldn't just pop it into my mouth. But then, nobody told me I should DO it either. I didn't even have the excuse of doing it on a dare.

When I next opened my eyes, I was looking at the *ceiling.* My chair had fallen over backward. It felt as though I'd been hit between the eyes with a baseball bat. And it was then I'd realized my mistake. Which was too late. :laugh:

Ah, the wisdom of age . . .

7th May 2004, 15:42
Konbanwa everyone,

Here is a sushi recipe that some may have heard of;

Wasabi maki

For this you need fresh wasabi (not the cheapo that comes in a tube)
Good nori and some sushi rice

Grate the wasabi on a fine grater (use the real shark skin type if in hand) then run the knife into the pile so to be sure you got it grated.
place some sushi rice on the nori as if you were going to make any other maki sushi and place a generous amount of wasabi and I mean generous since this is the only ingredient going into the roll.
Eat as if you are eating any other sushi.
You will find that wasabi has sweetness within it's heat.
(If you can stand it of course.)
All sushi chefs knows this dish and they will only serve it if they are proud of their wasabi. (In Japan anyways)
Have fun.


7th May 2004, 17:24
A friend tells a story of going to eat sushi with some friends. They were all sitting around the Sushi bar (Note: This is in the DEEP SOUTH in the US) chatting. Several of the people there had never eaten Sushi. The plates are set out and one of the guys (who has never eaten Sushi and also never shuts up long enough to hear anything anybody else has to say) grabs a piece of a roll of some types, dunks it in the Wasabi like it is Guacamole and pops it in his mouth. They had to pick him up off the floor. Of course everybody else including the Sushi Chef are about to die from laughing at this fool.

This guy did learn a lesson to always take a very small bite the first time you try something to make sure that 1) you like it and 2) it is not something that could send you to the hospital if eaten in large quantities. :D