Marrubium vulgare. N.O. Labiateae.
Synonym ► Hoarhound.
Habitat ► Horehound flourishes in dry, and particularly chalky waste ground.
Features ► It grows to a height of one and a half to two feet. The bluntly four-cornered stem sends out spreading branches covered with white, woolly hair. The leaves, also spread with the soft hair, are egg-shaped and deeply toothed, the lower ones stalked, those above sessile. The small, white flowers appear during July in thick rings just above the upper leaves.
Part used ► The whole plant.
Action ► Aromatic and bitter, having expectorant and slight diuretic action.
Horehound is probably the best known of all herbal pectoral remedies, and is undoubtedly effective in coughs, colds and pulmonary complaints. The whole herb is infused in 1 ounce quantities to 1 pint of water, and taken frequently in wineglass doses.
The refreshing and healthy Horehound Beer or Ale is brewed from this herb, and a Horehound candy is made which, when properly prepared, is one of the best of “cough sweets.”
Coffin speaks highly of the tonic and expectorant qualities of Horehound, and its latter virtue has certainly been known for nearly three hundred years, as Culpeper tells us that “it helpeth to expectorate tough phlegm from the chest.”