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The discovery of horehound

Horehound (Marrubium vulgare), also known as common horehound, is a plant with a long history in traditional medicine. It was used by the Greeks and Romans as early as antiquity. Dioscorides, a Greek physician from the 1st century, described the healing properties of horehound in his work “De Materia Medica”. In the Middle Ages, horehound was also grown in monastery gardens and used to treat various ailments.

Dosage forms and dosage

Horehound can be taken in different forms, depending on your preference and health needs:

  • Tea: The classic horehound tea is made from the dried leaves and flowers. A teaspoon of dried horehound per cup of hot water, left to steep for about 10-15 minutes, is a common method of preparation.
  • Tincture: A tincture of horehound is made from fresh or dried plant parts. The recommended dosage is 20-30 drops in a glass of water, once or twice a day.
  • Capsules: Horehound extract is also available in capsule form. The usual dosage is 300-600 mg per day, depending on the concentration of the preparation.
  • Syrup: Horehound syrup, often in combination with honey, is used primarily for coughs and sore throats. A typical dosage is one tablespoon three times a day.

Diseases that horehound can cure

It is traditionally used to treat a range of conditions, including:

  • Respiratory diseases: it has expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help with bronchitis, coughs and asthma. It helps to clear mucus and soothes irritated airways.
  • Digestive disorders: The plant can help with loss of appetite, flatulence and indigestion. It stimulates the production of gastric acid and bile, thus promoting digestion.
  • Liver and gallbladder complaints: It supports liver function and can have a soothing effect on gallstones and gallbladder colic.
  • Cardiovascular complaints: It is also traditionally used to strengthen the heart and improve blood circulation.

Effect on the body

The effect of horehound on the body is diverse and is based on its active ingredients:

  • Marrubiin: This bitter substance has an expectorant, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effect. It is particularly effective for respiratory diseases.
  • Flavonoids: These antioxidants protect cells from free radicals and support the immune system.
  • Essential oils: These have an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect, which is particularly helpful in the case of respiratory infections.

It supports the body by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices, relieving inflammation and strengthening the immune system.

When to take it and food supplements

Horehound is ideally taken as needed or as part of a course of treatment. For example, during the cold season to prevent respiratory diseases or in the case of acute digestive problems. Regular intake can strengthen the immune system and improve general health.

Not recommended for use

Certain groups of people should avoid taking it:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: As the safety of taking this product during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been sufficiently investigated, women in this phase of life are advised not to take it.
  • Children under 12 years of age: The effects and safety in children have not been sufficiently investigated, so caution is advised.
  • People with gastrointestinal ulcers: the irritant properties may aggravate existing ulcers.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

The following food supplements and medicinal plants can be combined to support the effect of horehound:

  • Probiotics: These support a healthy intestinal flora and improve digestion, which can enhance the effect in digestive disorders.
  • Marshmallow: Marshmallow root has expectorant and soothing properties that complement the effect in respiratory diseases.
  • Artichoke extract: Artichoke supports liver function and can be helpful in combination with liver and gallbladder complaints.

Occurrence in food

Horehound itself is rarely used in food, but it can be found in herbal teas and herbal medicines. Bitter substances, such as those found in horehound, are also found in other plants such as dandelion and gentian, which are also valued in natural medicine.

Horehound: side effects and overdose

The side effects are usually mild, but may include gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea or diarrhea. Skin rashes may occur in sensitive individuals when used externally.

Overdosing can lead to severe gastrointestinal problems and should be avoided. Very high doses can cause liver and kidney damage, so the recommended dose should not be exceeded.

Horehound: use in naturopathy

In herbal medicine, it is valued as a natural remedy due to its many different effects. It is used to treat respiratory and digestive complaints, as well as to support liver and gallbladder function. In addition to internal use in the form of teas and tinctures, it is also used externally to relieve skin irritation.


Horehound is a valuable medicinal herb with a long tradition in herbal medicine. Its many different effects make it a natural remedy for respiratory, digestive and liver complaints. Despite its numerous benefits, it should be taken with caution and after consulting a doctor, especially for certain groups of people. Together with other medicinal herbs and food supplements, it can make an important contribution to natural health care.

Published on: 23. June 2024


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