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Horehound the Herb: Uses and Benefits Plus Cough Medicine Recipe!

Updated on November 15, 2015

Healthful Horehound

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A good source to purchase the dried Horehound from.Remember to add the honey to your cough syrup!
A good source to purchase the dried Horehound from.
A good source to purchase the dried Horehound from. | Source
Remember to add the honey to your cough syrup!
Remember to add the honey to your cough syrup!

Use of Horehound

Have you used Horehound around your house for any purpose?

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The Useful Plant Horehound

Horehound - Botanical Name: Marrubium vulgare (Uses: Herbal and Natural remedies)

The history of horehound goes back at least to ancient Egypt, where it was know by several prestigious names – eye of the Star, Seed of Horus, and Bull’s Blood. Horehound is a perennial member of the mint family. It is a bushy plant with woolly silver-white leaves that are wrinkled and opposite and carried on a quadrangular hairy stem. Its flowers are white and displayed in whorls that circle the tips of the stalks that bear them. It is a common wayside plant in both Europe and the United States, horehound is usually found growing in poor, dry soil. It is most easily propagated from cuttings or root divisions taken in either spring or fall. You can also propagate it from seeds, sowing them 1/8 inch deep and one inch apart in the spring after the danger of frost is past. When the seedlings begin to develop, thin them to stand about nine inches apart.

In the garden, as in the wild, horehound thrives in sandy soil in a warm, sunny location, an environment that encourages a maximum concentration of the valuable herbal qualities in the plant’s leaves. Horehound has a characteristic musky odor, which some people find disagreeable, but the smell dissipates as the herb dries.

The plant does not bloom until its second year, but you can harvest horehound in its first year by cutting back the plant by about one-third of its total top growth. In subsequent years you can harvest the plant more fully by cutting back foliage to about four inches above the ground, just before it flowers. You can get two to three cuttings from the plant annually. If the horehound plant is allowed to flower, its seeds will self-sow widely in the garden, transforming it from a valuable herb to a garden nuisance.

Horehound has enjoyed a number of healing uses throughout the histories. It was thought to be one of the bitter herbs that formed part of the first Passover rite of the Jewish people. Powdered horehound leaves have been used to expel worms, and an ointment made with the leaves have been used to soothe itches and wounds. In large does, the herb was used as a laxative. Greeks, Romans, and medieval Europeans used horehound for snakebites, dog bites, and to counteract vegetable poisons

But horehound is definitely best known as a remedy for coughs and pulmonary complaints and in the treatment of colds. A strong infusion of horehound is used by herbalists to promote perspiration and has been used for breaking fevers, Many people in both Europe and America brew horehound tea as soon as the feel a cold coming on. If a cold has already set in, horehound tea taken three times daily is considered a valuable aid in expelling mucus,

Horehound syrup ad cough drops are famous old-fashioned cold remedies from the 1800’s, but the use of horehound leaves in cough syrup goes back at least to the 1600s.

Making Horehound Cough Syrup

1/4 cup of horehound (fresh) or 1/8 cup of dried horehound leaves.

1 1/2 cups of honey

1 cup of hot water

Pour the water into a pot and bringing it to a boil. Next toss in the horehound leaves and remove your pot from stove, allowing everything to steep for approximately 15 minutes. Strain the leaves and then add the honey to the water, mixing it very well. You can then bottle the cough syrup for later use. Feel free to add more or less honey to adjust the thickness and sweetness of the syrup.

This is in response to the question "What are herbs?"

Herbs are any plant that has leaves, seeds, or flowers and is used for flavoring, food, medicine as well as perfume.


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  • Dale Hyde profile image

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Howdy Lucybell! Great to see ya. I know I should have remembered this herb as well... I had to go to the ER for surgery for a torn retina a few weeks ago, and as if that was not enough, I picked up one of those "colds" that you mention that is still, lingering... However, it is on the downhill swing. :) Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting!

  • lucybell21 profile image

    Bonny OBrien 5 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

    Gee I could of used this a few weeks ago, when I had a cold so bad, I could not breathe when i got up and walked a few feet. Very good hub.

  • Dale Hyde profile image

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello Angela! Glad you found this helpful for an addition to your herb collection. We have so many here I can't keep up with it. Guess that is why I married my wife...she does an excellent job of keeping up with them, and even growing them and drying them.:) Thanks for stopping by, reading, commenting and voting up Sis!

  • Angela Blair profile image

    Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

    Dale -- super informative Hub -- I've used the old fashioned cough drops but was unfamiliar with the herb -- will now add it to my collection (I'm just beginning my herb assortment and all info is appreciated). Voted up. Best/Sis

  • Dale Hyde profile image

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello cloverleaffarm! I have never made the drops but have used them a few times and they were very effective. Thanks for reading, commenting and voting up!

  • Dale Hyde profile image

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    That is great, rajan jolly! Thanks for stopping, reading and commenting!

  • cloverleaffarm profile image

    Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

    Love making horehound drops. It's a bonus since the herb is a bit on the bitter side. It is a bonus during the winter months. Great hub...voted up.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    dalehyde, this is a new herb for me. A welcome addition to my knowledge. Thanks for sharing.