Horehound (Marrabium vulgare)

Identification:
This perennial, mint-like plant is covered in white fur. A tough, fibery rootstock sends up many bushy, square, downy stems and grows from 12 to 20 inches. The circular to broadly ovate wrinkled leaves are bluntly toothed at the margins. Horehound Flowers
The upper surface is grayish and less hairy than the lower surface. Dense whorls of off-white flowers are found in the axils of paired, leaf-like bracts. The calyx tube has ten tiny hooked teeth at the rim.
Family: Labiatae (Mint family)
Other Names: Hoarhound, Horehound, White Horehound
Flowers: May – September
Parts Used: Leaves and flowering tops.
Habitat: Waste places, meadows, pastures, and along railroad tracks and roadsides.
Horehound is indigenous to Britain and widely distributed over Europe, central and northern Asia, and scattered throughout North America.
Harvest: The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and can be used fresh or dried.
Constituents:
Sesquiterpene bitter (including marrubiin),
Diterpene alcohols (marrubenol, marrubiol, peregrinol, vulgarol, phytol)
Flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin)
Small amounts of pyrrolidine alkaloids (betonicine, stachydrine)
Traces of volatile oil (containing alpha- pinene, sabine, camphene and p-cymol)
Also contains alkaloids, ursolic and caffeic acid, tannins, saponin, mucilage, minerals (especially potassium), vitamin C, resins, wax, and sterols.
Medicinal Properties:
Properities: Expectorant, anti-spasmodic, bitter, vulnerary, emmenagogue, pectoral, aromatic, diaphoretic, tonic, diuretic, hepatic, stimulant.
Uses: Horehound is indicated in bronchitis and chest colds, particularly congestive catarrhal conditions with a non-productive cough. It has also been used to treat whopping cough. Its action is to relax the smooth muscles of the bronchi while promoting mucus production. The expectorant action, caused by the stimulation of mucus secretion by the lining of the respiratory tract, is attributed to marrubiin and to the volatile oil. A hot infusion of horehound has a diaphoretic action, and it has been used in the past to reduce malarial fever.
The cold infusion is a bitter tonic to the digestive system. The sesquiterpene bitter, murrubiin stimulates the flow of saliva and gastric juices, thereby stimulating the appetite. As murrubiin breaks down in the stomach, it stimulates the secretion and flow of bile, thus aiding digestion.
Preparation and dosages:
Cold Infusion: 2 to 4 ounces, up to 4 times a day.
Tincture: [Fresh Plant, 1:2, Dry Plant, 1:5, 50% alcohol], 30 to 90 drops, up to 4 times a day.

Horehound Losenges

1-1/3 cups dried horehound leaves
2 cups boiling water
2 cups honey
4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Steep the horehound leaves in the boiling water for 15 minutes;
strain. To the tea add honey, brown sugar, and cream of tartar.
Heat to a temperature of 220°F. Add butter, but do not stir, and
heat to 312°F. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Pour into
hot buttered pans, mark into squares and let cool. Use these to
relieve sore throat and cough.

Horehound Candy

1 cup horehound tea
4 cups sugar
2 cups light or dark corn syrup

Boil horehound leaves to make a good strong tea. Drain, reserving
1 cup of the liquid. Add the cup of tea to the other ingredients and
boil until it just starts to caramel. Put onto a flat greased cookie
sheet. Start cutting with kitchen shears or scissors as soon as it
starts to harden on the edges.

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