What is wasabi?
Wasabi (Wasabia japonica) is a perennial herb indigenous to Japan. It is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables. A wasabi plant has three main parts: the roots, the leaves and the above-ground stem or rhizome. The plant grows about two feet tall and the rhizome is typically four to seven inches in length but can be longer.
Wasabi can take 12 to 24 months to reach maturity depending on variety, growing conditions and the size of the plant desired.
In Japan, wasabi is grown in mountain streams. It is also grown in China, Korea, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. It can be grown in soil and hydroponically in a greenhouse, which is how we grow our wasabi.
Has wasabi been around for a long time?
Wasabi is one of the oldest traditional herbs, as noted in the Honzo Wamyo, an ancient medicinal dictionary in Japan. The first mention of wasabi appeared in 918. Historical records indicate that it’s been grown in Japan for over a thousand years.
Wasabi is a cruciferous vegetable. What is that?
Cruciferous vegetables are part of the Cruciferae family of widely-consumed vegetables. In addition to wasabi, they also include broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, kale, radishes, horseradish and turnips.
Why are these vegetables so good for us?
Cruciferous vegetables are a good source of vitamin C, folate, calcium, beta carotene and fiber. They’ve also been shown to have important potential as cancer-fighters.
What kinds of studies have been done?
More than 600 studies have been conducted on cruciferous vegetables as they contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which are found in much higher quantities than other vegetables.
Investigative research has demonstrated that the consumption of cruciferous vegetables protects against cancer more effectively than the total intake of fruits and vegetables.
What are glucosinolates? And what’s an ITC?
Glucosinolates are odorless, biologically-inactive precursors to a volatile group of health-boosting compounds called isothiocyanates (ITC’s). Glucosinolates are chemically stable and biologically inactive as long as they are separated within the sub-cellular compartments of the plant.
Physical rupture of the plant (through chewing or processing) allows the enzyme myrosinase – in the presence of water – to transform glucosinolates into ITC’s. ITC’s are known for their beneficial properties that promote the function of many of our body’s internal systems, including our immune and hormonal systems.
Different parts of the wasabi plant contain different glucosinolates, which yield different ITC’s. It’s why we use the entire plant in our powder.
Is wasabi rich in a specific ITC?
Yes. Wasabi is the richest source of 6 M-ITC. Numerous studies have been done on 6-MITC to further determine its health properties.
What are some of the other beneficial properties associated with wasabi?
Wasabi is known to possess several other beneficial properties that can help improve overall health and well-being. These properties include anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, anti-platelet aggregation, anti-fermentative and anti-carcinogenic.
What is real wasabi?
Unless you buy wasabi fresh, you may not be buying real wasabi. Many of the commercially-available preparations such as powder and tubes of paste contain little or no real wasabi. In fact, you might be surprised to know that a lot of people have never tasted real wasabi. We produce only 100 percent real greenhouse-grown Canadian wasabi.
Why does real wasabi cost more than what I’ll find on the shelf?
Real wasabi is difficult to grow and takes a long time to reach maturity. Crops failures are common. It also requires a very strict growing regime of PH, water temperature, CO2 levels, ambient temperature and pest control. This regime is expensive to implement and maintain, which adds significantly to the cost of real wasabi.
Why do you sell wasabi in capsules?
This is the most convenient way for consumers to get all the benefits that wasabi has to offer.
Fresh wasabi is very expensive and difficult to source. Once grated, it must be consumed within 15 minutes or its potency is dramatically reduced. The taste is also quite strong which may not appeal to some people.
Drying and powdering the plant then making capsules allows us to retain much of the original nutrients. We only use 100 percent real wasabi grown in our Canadian greenhouse. All our wasabi is non-GMO and contains no gluten, soy or dairy products.
Do you freeze-dry your wasabi?
No. We use a proprietary microwave vacuum process which, because it operates at a lower temperature than other drying processes, preserves more nutrients. Our cycle time is only 20 minutes compared to hours for other systems.
Is the preparation of your wasabi capsules regulated by a government body?
Yes. Health Canada conducts a rigorous review before granting the two licenses required to make Natural Health Products – a site license and a product license.
What is the recommended dosage for your capsules?
The recommended dosage is 2 or 3 200mg capsules daily. Three capsules give you approximately 40 percent of the daily requirement of glucosinolates.
Couldn’t I get all the nutrients I need by eating fresh, cruciferous vegetables?
You could but you’d have to eat a lot of vegetables. In addition to that, we tend to overcook our vegetables which destroys most of the nutrients.
Are there other manufactures of wasabi capsules licensed by Health Canada?
No, we’re the first and only licensed manufacturer of wasabi capsules in Canada.
What about wasabi capsules that can be purchased online?
While other wasabi products are available online, if they are not governed by a Health Canada Site Licence (or equivalent governing body), they may not be guaranteed to be grown, produced or manufactured according to the strict guidelines set forth by Health Canada.