Medicinal Herbs Online

Herbal Glossary | Medicinal Glossary | Herbal Preparations | Ayervedic Formulas | Chinese Formulas
Folk Remedies | Native American Formulas | Herbal Remedies | Nutritional Guidelines


    Scientific Names

    • Marrubium vulgare L.
    • Labiatae
    • Mint family

    Common Names

    ivyWhite horehound
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    Parts Usually Used

    Flowers and leaves (fresh or dried in the shade)
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Horehound is a strongly, rank-scented perennial plant with a dense covering of white hairs, growing 2-3 feet tall; a fibrous, spindle-shaped rootstock send up numerous bushy, square, downy stems. The root is blackish, hard and woody, with many strings. The leaves with rounded teeth on the margins are opposite, petioled, usually wrinkled, roundish-ovate, rough on top, and woolly underneath. The small, white, dense, two-lipped flowers feature a spiny, toothed, calyx with 10 bristly, curved teeth, and grow in axillary whorls on the upper leaves; from June to September. Full sun. Zones 4-9. After blooming time appear small round blackish seed. Seed ripen in August.

    Another variety: Black horehound (Ballota nigra), also known as hen-bit, is used to relieve morning sickness.
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    Where Found

    Found in waste places, sheep pastures, vacant lots, abandoned fields, dry, sandy spots, in upland fields and pastures, and along roadsides in coastal areas of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Native of southern Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Canary Islands, and the Azores.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Anthelmintic (large doses), antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic
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    Biochemical Information

    Iron, marrubiin, volatile oils, potassium, resin, tannins, the B complex, and vitamins A, C, E, and F.
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    The Egyptians called this plant the seed of Horus, bull’s blood, and eye of the star.

    For centuries a cough remedy, horehound was used by Hippocrates to treat a variety of ailments.

    Called an herb of Mercury, the horehound was used widely as a medicine by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. The Greeks often used it as an anti-spasmodic drug and as an antidote for the bite of a ad dog, hence its common name, hoarhound.

    It is one of the bitter herbs that the Jews eat at Passover time, the others being nettle, horseradish, coriander, and lettuce. The common name of horehound, originating from the Hebrew, “marrob,” meaning “a bitter juice”.

    Dioscorides claimed a decoction of the dried herb with seed, or the juice of the green herb taken with honey, is a remedy for those that are short-winded.

    Horehound can help relieve the dragged-out, sluggish feeling that often accompanies a bad cold or the flu. Also, rids the body of excess water.
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    Take for coughs, common colds, asthma, jaundice, fever, chronic sore throat, consumption, hoarseness, stimulate appetite, intestinal gas, gallbladder disorders, jaundice, hepatitis, laxative, asthma. Decreases thickness and increases fluidity of mucus in bronchial tubes and lungs. Fresh leaves poulticed on cuts, wounds. Volatile oil is an expectorant, acts as a vasodilator, calms the heart, and relieves palpitations. The malodorous, bitter leaves are a well-known ingredient in cough syrups and throat lozenges. In large doses it is a laxative. Taken cold for dyspepsia, hysteria, and will expel worms.

    As an expectorant, it can be taken as a tea, a syrup, or a dilute alcoholic extract for acute or chronic bronchitis. Horehound is also given for typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever. It is said to restore the normal balance of secretions by various organs and glands. Try it for nervous heart conditions, to calm heart action. Taken warm, the infusion is diaphoretic and diuretic; taken cold, it makes a good stomach tonic. Externally, either the tea or the crushed leaves can be applied for temporary or persistent skin problems, and shingles.

    Culpeper states it was given to “them that have taken poison, or are stung or bitten by venomous serpents.” The leaves used with honey heal external ulcers, sores; helps pain, helps clear eyesight
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Can be used fresh or dried.

    Infusion: steep 1 tsp. herb in 1/2 cup water. Take 1 to 1 1/2 cups a day, a mouthful at a time. Sweeten with honey if taken for lung or heart problems.

    Syrup: add a pound of sugar to 1 pint of infusion.

    Cough syrup: boil 1/4 cup dried horehound with 2 cups water for 10 minutes; strain. Combine one part of the mixture with 2 parts honey; stir until smooth. Children can drink this mixture freely for coughs and sore throat.

    Extract: for coughs, a tea made from 10-40 drops of extract in warm water works best. Use up to 3 times daily.

    Juice: take 1 tsp. fresh juice, 2 times a day.

    Tincture: take 5-40 drops in hot water, as needed.
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    Nutrient Content

    Iron, potassium, the B complex, and vitamins A, C, E, and F.
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    How Sold

    Cough drops

    Medicinal candy

    Cough syrup
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    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

    Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

    Buy It! Culpeper's Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

    Buy It! Earl Mindell's Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

    Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

    Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

    Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

    Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

    Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

    Buy It! American Folk Medicine/i>, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

    Buy It! Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

    Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

    Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature's Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

    Buy It! Country Home Book of Herbs, Meredith Books, Editorial Dept. RW240, 1716 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309-3023, copyright 1994

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