horehound

Horehound

Horehound, Marrubium vulgare, is a herbaceous, perennial and aromatic herb native to Europe and used by herbalists to soothe respiratory and digestive ailments.

FAMILY

Lamiaceae

OTHER NAMES

Common horehound, white horehound, hoarhound, houndsbane, marrubium, seed of Horus, bull’s blood, eye of the star

BOTANIC CHARACTERISTICS

30-60 centimeters (12–24 in) tall.

CULTIVATION

Horehound prefers dry, well-drained poor soil in full sun. Sow seeds in the spring or divide the roots. It’ll begin flowering in the second year.

HARVEST

Harvest the upper 10 cm (4 in) flowering shoots.

DRYING

Dry it whole in a dry, well-ventilated area or in a dehydrator at maximum 40 degrees Celsius (104 F).

CONSTITUENTS

Diterpoid bitter compounds (predominantly the furanolabdane marrubiin), peregrinol, vulgarol, marrubenol, marrubiol, flavonoids (quercetin, luteolin, lactoflavones), choline, stachydrine, betonicine, lamiaceae-tannins, small amounts of essential oils, saponin.

PROPERTIES

Expectorant, antiphlogistic, digestive, laxative (in large doses), vasodilator, diaphoretic, diuretic, anti-parasitic, tonic, vulnerary

ENERGETICS

Bitter and cool.

TASTE

Bitter and acrid.

ODOR

Faintly aromatic.

MEDICINAL USE OF HOREHOUND

Horehound is, unfortunately, no longer a commonly used herb. Herbalists use it to soothe respiratory and digestive complaints.

The bitter compounds and the saponins regulate the secretion of the submucosal glands (glands that secrete mucus) in the air passages. They also lose and thin mucus acting as an expectorant, antiphlogistic and antispasmodic. It works wonders for bronchitis, especially in the elderly as well as pertussis and asthma.

It helps lower fever caused by malaria.

The antibacterial tannins in horehound counteract diarrhea and stimulate wound healing.

The bitter compounds also regulate the digestive system, particularly the gallbladder, lending strength to the body.

Take internally for:

  • Cough
  • Pertussis
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Fevers (especially those associated with Malaria)
  • Digestion
  • Gallbladder support
  • Stimulating the appetite

Topic application for:

  • Wounds and other skin conditions
Recommended daily dosage

Tea: 4.5 g herb
Pressed juice: 30 to 60 ml

HOMEMADE PREPARATIONS
  • Infusion
  • Decoction
  • Syrup
  • Wine
  • Honey
  • Poultice
SIDE EFFECTS

None in normal doses. Large doses can be laxative.

CONTRA-INDICATIONS

None.

CULINARY USE

Horehound has been used in Europe as a condiment to flavor salads, chicken and fish, soups and stews, sauces, strong-tasting vegetables, candy, cakes and cookies, ice-cream, liqueur and as a substitute for hops in beer (horehound ale).

horehound

References
Bühring, U. 2015. Alles über Heilpflanzen. 3rd ed. Stuttgart: Ulmer.
Wichtl M. 2004. Herbal drugs and phytopharmaceuticals – A handbook for practice on a scientific basis. 3rd ed. Stuttgart: medpharm Scientific Publishers

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