Marrubrium vulgaris is one of the first non-native herbs I learned when I was working as field biologist for Cal State Stanislas to protect native species. I knew the plant as a cough remedy and a candy, but didn't have much experience recognizing the plant back then. In college as a horticulture student we studied landscaping plants rather than "wild" plants; which is truly where my heart was. But none the less, I learned alot.
Horehound is a perennial weed and member of the mint family. It's commonly found in disturbed, low-elevation areas throughout California. One plant can produce thousands of seeds, become very dense quickly, and is resistant to trampling. It is often times found flourishing on roadsides. In an ornamental landscape, this aromatic herb will attract bees to your garden.
Horehound is an amazing plant and useful to say the least. It is an excellent pectoral remedy for cough and colds, bronchitis, and sore throats as well as helping with unwanted phlegm in the chest. Horehound tea alone is effective for the common cold but I like to mix it with marshmallow and licorice root and make a syrup.
Beyond being an expectorant, it is a bitter tonic, diuretic, resolvent, diaphoretic, and laxative. A warm cup of tea will produce perspiration and urine flow; helps with asthma, jaundice, and hoarseness. A cold infusion is a great tonic for dyspepsia, and the powdered leaves are used as a vermifuge. Taken in large doses, it is laxative and will expel worms.
For harvesting and storing: The first year, cut the foliage sparingly. The second year, harvest leaves when flower buds appear, chop and dry them, then store in airtight containers. If you don't know this herb, you should- it's easy to fall in love with.
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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.
Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.
Jessica Morgan, M.H.