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Horehound was reportedly first used in ancient Rome by the physician Galen, who recommended it as a therapy for coughs and other respiratory ailments. Like Galen, Nicholas Culpeper, the 17th-century English pharmacist, commented that it was helpful for a cough and was also useful in helping remove stubborn phlegm from the lung. Similarly, American Eclectic physicians (doctors who recommended herbs) of the 19th century remarked on its value as a medicinal plant not only for coughs and asthma but also in menstrual complaints
Ancient Greeks reportedly relied on horehound (Marrabium vulgare) to treat mad-dog bite, which explains the "hound" in this plant's name. But over time, it has been this herb's power to control a cough that has made it so popular. Soothing teas, lozenges, and syrups concocted from its wooly leaves and white flowering tops make a cough more productive by stimulating phlegm (mucus) output in the airways. Colds, bronchitis, and other minor respiratory problems often respond to horehound treatment as well.