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Horehound is most widely recognized as a medicine for respiratory problems, including coughs, sore throats and colds. Preparations of Horehound are used as expectorants and tonics. It may, indeed, be considered one of the most popular pectoral remedies, being given with benefit for chronic cough, asthma, and some cases of consumption. The powdered leaves have also been employed as a vermifuge and the green leaves, bruised and boiled in lard, are made into an ointment which is good for wounds. Horehound is commonly used to make a soothing candy or tea for coughs and colds.
The root is a remedy for the bite of rattlesnakes. It is used in equal portions with Plantago lanceolata or P. major.
Horehound contains a number of constituents, including alkaloids, flavonoids, diterpenes (e.g., marrubiin), and trace amount of volatile oils.3 The major active constituent in horehound is marrubiin, which is thought to be responsible for the expectorant (promotion of coughing up of mucus) action of the herb. In addition, marrubiin contributes to the bitter taste of horehound, an action that increases the flow of saliva and gastric juice, thereby stimulating the appetite.4 These actions likely explain the long-standing use of horehound as a cough suppressant and expectorant as well as a bitter digestive tonic.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Since horehound acts as a bitter and may increase production of stomach acid, people with gastritis or peptic ulcer disease should use it cautiously. Horehound should not be used during pregnancy, as it may stimulate contractions
Horehound may dangerously increase the blood sugar-lowering effects of drugs designed to lower blood glucose, such as insulin and oral antidiabetic agents. Avoid combining horehound with these medicines
Primary constituents of Horehound include essential oil (pinene, limonene, camphene), diterpene alcohols (marrubinol, marruciol, silareol), sterols, saponins, bitter lactone, alkaloids (betonicine, stachydine), tannin, mucilage, bitter principle (marrubin), and Vitamin C.
Horehound is, above all, a support remedy for coughing, and also for bronchial problems generally. Additionally, it has shown to aid in the restoration of the normal balance pfd secretions by various body organs & glands. It has shown positive results in treating nervous heart conditions, and to calm overall heart action.
Caution: large doses may be a laxative.