The Many Benefits of Horehound
English Name: White Horehound or Common Horehound
Latin Name: Marrubium Vulgare
What is Horehound?
White or common horehound is a perennial plant of the Lamiaceae family, the same family as its look-alike cousin, mint. Native to Europe and Asia, it can now be found all over the world and is considered an invasive weed in some places due to its fast-growing ability to outpace other plants. It grows to almost two feet in height, and its light green leaves appear fuzzy from a coating of small white hairs. Its name comes partly from these hairs, in the Old English words “hoar” meaning white as in “hoarfrost” and “hune” denoting a class of herbs. White flowers in small clusters adorn the plant in summer, and the leaves, flowers and stems have all been important components of natural medicine for centuries. Many cultures around the globe also use horehound for brewing beer or tea and in distilled liquors1.
How does Horehound work?
Horehound leaves and stems contain many important micronutrients, but the most important for medicinal effect are flavonoids and marrubiin. Flavonoids are vitamin-like substances that help support numerous functions in the body, including cell repair and vein fortification. They also help other vitamins — especially vitamin C and the entire B complex — do their job of keeping the body healthy. Marrubiin is a diterpene, a chemical compound known to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists believe marrubiin supplies horehound’s expectorant quality, meaning its ability to help thin and expel mucous from the lungs. This compound also contributes to the herb’s bitter taste, which helps the body produce more saliva and other gastric juices and may stimulate appetite2.
What are the benefits of Horehound?
The anti-inflammatory components of horehound probably produce its most important health benefits, as inflammation affects the body negatively in numerous ways. The painful symptoms of arthritis are generally due to inflamed joints, and horehound has been shown to ameliorate this kind of achiness. Horehound is a natural expectorant, so it can be effective in encouraging a productive cough that helps clear excessive mucous from the lungs and bronchia. It can also soothe inflamed mucous membranes in the sinuses for clearer breathing and in the stomach and intestines for easier digestion. It can also reduce overall toxicity through its ability to induce sweating, which helps the body eliminate unwanted toxins like salt and bacteria. Ingesting horehound can also help soothe the nervous system and alleviate muscle tics, twitches and spasms3.
Products Featuring Horehound
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The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
1. Staughton, John. "10 Impressive Benefits of White Horehound." Organic Facts. July 02, 2018. Accessed November 03, 2018. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/white-horehound-2.html.
2. "Horehound." Horehound | Michigan Medicine. Accessed November 03, 2018. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2109003#hn-2109003-how-it-works.
3. "White Horehound: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning." WebMD. Accessed November 03, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-886/white-horehound.
Reviewed by Master Herbalist, Mary Ellen Kosanke