Horehound is a perennial, aromatic herb of the mint family. The plant has oval leaves covered with white, woolly hairs, and bears small, white flowers and is native to Europe and Asia but has now been cultivated in other parts of the world.
Horehound has been used traditionally as an expectorant and continues to find a place in cough lozenges and cold preparations.
It is now used primarily as flavourings in liqueurs, candies and cough drops.
Horehound was an accepted medicinal plant in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until 1989 and is still endorsed in Europe as an effective cold medicine.
Horehound contains the bitter principal marrubiin (sometimes spelled marubin), a potent pain reliever, and nervous system stimulant.
This is one of the bitter herbs ordained to be eaten at Passover supper by the Jews. Herbalist also recommended it as an antidote for poisons and for “mad dogge biting”. Horehound is used internally to treat bronchitis, asthma, decreasing congestion and reducing mucus.
The bitter taste activates a reflex action that helps normalize breathing and digestion, and the beneficial effects of the herb are not realized if it is combined with too much sugar or other sweetener.
Other important properties of the horehound herb, is that it also relieves spasms and increases perspiration while stimulating the flow of bile and bringing about a soothing effect on the heart.
The horehound herb processes the ability to control certain liver and gall disorders and as an external application is used for minor abrasions and superficial skin inflammations and is administered to patients in order to enhance their appetite and promote the working of the stomach and digestive system on the whole. By consuming just a single cup of lukewarm horehound herbal tea, it can impact the gathered congestion in the throat lining, lungs and sinuses and relieve the misery due to a headache caused by sinus infections.
The entire plant can be used medicinally. Horehound is available fresh, dried, powdered, in capsules, as an extract, or as a pressed juice.