Herbal Remedies: Therapeutic Properties of Horehound

Horehound has been a popular cough and cold remedy since ancient Egyptian times. As a potent expectorant, it will promote mucus and ease the pain of a non-productive, hacking cough. Try it for bronchitis, indigestion and whooping cough.

Plant Description:

Horehound is a hardy perennial and medicinal mint that may grow to two feet in height, and all the aboveground parts of this herbaceous plant are used in herbal medicine.


Ancient Egyptian priests honored Horehound as a treatment for coughs and colds, calling it “eye of the star,” and the Greek physician, Hippocrates, esteemed its curative powers and even thought it would break magical spells. Horehound’s botanical name is derived from the Hebrew, marrob, which translates as “bitter juice,” and it is thought that Horehound was one of the original bitter herbs of the Jewish Passover meal. Some claim that Horehound is native to Morocco, but what is certain is that it was carried throughout the Old World and later to Europe and North America by traders and settlers. Horehound flourishes in Britain, where it is included in teas and candies for the treatment of coughs and colds. Among its chemical constituents are marrubium (a “bitter” that is sometimes called maribun or marrubiin), essential oils, tannins, minerals, wax, saponins, B-complex vitamins and vitamin C.

Medical Uses:

Horehound is a powerful expectorant and relieves lung congestion. In treating painful, chesty, non-productive coughs, colds, bronchitis and sinusitis, Horehound’s compound, marrubium, decreases the thickness of phlegm and promotes the secretion of fluids into the bronchial passageways, producing mucus. It also combines the action of relaxing the smooth muscle of the bronchi while promoting mucus production and expectoration, thereby also easing the pain of the cough.

As a pain reliever, the marrubium compound in Horehound stimulates the central nervous system and was found in laboratory tests to be more potent than some well-known pain relief medications.

Horehound promotes good digestion. The stimulation of the central nervous system by marrubium also stimulates the stomach to secrete digestive juices, helping the stomach to digest food. The reaction also stimulates the flow of bile from the gall bladder, which eases flatulence by changing the chemical composition of the contents of the large intestine.

Horehound promotes sweating, helping to break a fever and cooling the body. The herb will also help rid the body of excess water weight and the feeling of bloating.

Horehound is considered a mild laxative and is also said to expel worms.

Some studies claim that Horehound helps to stop the high and low blood-sugar reactions after

Horehound is said to have a relaxing effect on heart tissue and is used by some herbalists as a circulatory tonic to help lower blood pressure. The marrubium may steady the heartbeat in low doses, but a physician must be consulted before using it in this situation, and larger doses may cause abnormal heartbeat.


Take two (2) capsules, one (1) to two (2) times each day with water at mealtimes.


Horehound is not advisable for pregnant or nursing women, younger children or adults over sixty-five years of age. Those with heart problems or stomach ulcers should not use Horehound without consulting with a physician. Do not overuse; larger doses may cause diarrhea. Women with menstrual problems should avoid Horehound, as it may increase menstrual flow.

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