White horehound is used mainly for two conditions: digestive complaints (lack of appetite, indigestion, dyspepsia, biliary complaints and flatulence) and dry coughs (acute or chronic bronchitis). Traditionally, it is a treatment in cases of menstrual... *
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Description - Research and Analysis
White horehound is used mainly for two conditions: digestive complaints (lack of appetite, indigestion, dyspepsia, biliary complaints and flatulence) and dry coughs (acute or chronic bronchitis). Traditionally, it is a treatment in cases of menstrual disorders and inflammations of mucous membranes and skin.
Description: A perennial herb of less than 0.5 m high, with angular stems, densely hairy, conspicuously veined leaves (often greyish green) and rounded clusters of small, white, two-lipped flowers at each node.
Origin: Southern Europe and Asia. The herb is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region but is now widely dispersed in most continents of the world, where it has become a common roadside weed.
Parts Used: The fresh or dried aboveground parts (Marrubii herba) are used.
Therapeutic Category: Choleretic and expectorant.
Preparation and Dosage: A daily dose of 4.5 g of dried herb (or equivalent dose) is recommended. It is usually taken as a tea, but the product is also included in ready-made expectorants and digestive medicines.
Active Ingredients: The main compound of interest is marrubiin (up to 1%), a diterpene lactone of the labdane type. It is thought that a precursor, premarrubiin, is actually present in the plant and that it is converted to marrubiin and further to marrubiinic acid. Other diterpenoids include marrubenol, peregrinol and vulgarol. Flavonoids (glycosides of apigenin, luteolin and quercetin), tannins and phenolic acids, betonicine, choline and small amounts of essential oil (with camphene, limonene, sabinene and other mono- and sesquiterpenoids) are present.
Pharmacological Effects: Choleretic effects are ascribed to marrubiin or marrubiinic acid (it stimulates bile secretion). Marrubiin is considered to be the main expectorant principle as it is thought to stimulate secretion of the bronchial mucosa, but the volatile oil in the plant will also contribute to the spasmolytic, expectorant and vasodilatory activities.
Status: Traditional medicine; Pharm.; Comm. E-H.
Horehound - also known as houndbane - is native to the Mediterranean region and is one of the bitter herbs consumed at Jewish Passover feasts. It's a bitter member of the mint family, with white, downy leaves. Commission E approved use of the above-ground parts of the plant, both fresh and dried.
Potential Health Benefits
Horehound is approved to treat loss of appetite, bloating, and flatulence. Traditionally, horehound has also been used as an expectorant and a treatment for bronchial coughs. In 1989, the United States banned horehound from cough medicines, saying it was ineffective. Commission E doesn't comment on horehound in cough remedies.
Horehound contains bitter principles and tannins. It also contains marrubinic acid, which stimulates the liver to increase production of bile used by the body to digest fats. in a 1959 study, published in Planta Medica, marrubinic acid stimulated the production of bile, which speeds digestion, in rats. In a 1996 study, a horehound alcoholic extract reduced smooth-muscle spasms of the intestinal tract, lending credence to horehound's reputation as a digestive aid.
How to Use the Herb
Dried herb and freshly expressed juice are endorsed for internal use. The daily dosages are 4.5 grams of the herb and 2-6 tablespoons of juice. The PDR Family Guide to Natural Medicines & Healing Therapies additionally recommends 1/2 tablespoonful of liquid extract 3 times per day, or up to 3 cups of tea per day.
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Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 tea bag for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Even though milk and a dash of sugar help enhance the flavor character on this tea, it is perfectly acceptable to consume this tea "straight-up."
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the bags. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or "milky" when poured over ice; a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!
At high doses, white horehound may possibly be cardioactive and have uterine stimulant effects, so care should be taken not to ingest large amounts.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease.