Herb Library

Back to Herb Menu     Back to Index

DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

(Marrubium vulgare)

PROPAGATION: By seed (stratify at 35 degrees F. for 4 to 8 weeks); by division; by cuttings in late summer. Perennial.
NEEDS: Full sun. Well-drained sandy soil. Can take some shade.
HARVEST: First year - only the top third of growth. Second year - flowers (just as the buds form)


Traditionally used for problems of the respiratory system, disorders of the stomach, and for hepatitis.
Was used as a tea, cough syrup and as a snuff to treat yellowness of the eye whites (no doubt related to liver disfunction as in the case of hepatitis).
Has been used in decoction form for sore throats.
Has often been combined with fenugreek, licorice and thyme as a bronchial tea to loosen heavy mucous.
Anciently used for fevers, malaria, an antidote to snakebite, rabid dogs, poison, killing flies, tree cankerworms and in magic ritual.

Used to make horehound candy.


Contains marrubin - a chemical compound which is extracted and used as an expectorant. Large doses are purgative and can cause an irregular heartbeat. The juice can cause dermatitis. An important bee herb.



Steep 1 oz of leaves in 2 C. of water just off the boil for 10 minutes; strain off the leaves and measure the liquid; add twice as much honey as liquid; mix well and bottle. For coughs take 1 tsp about 4 times a day (no more than 4 tsp daily).

Combine powered horehound with sugar or honey and slippery elm. Form a paste. Roll into rectangular shaped cake on wax paper which is covered with slippery elm powder or sugar. Cover the top with cornstarch; cut into small squares and let air dry; put in sealed container.

Boil the herb in water for 10 minutes and simmer for another 30 minutes; strain. Add 1 C. honey or 1-1/2 C. sugar for each cup of liquid. Bring to a boil and stir till mixture begins to thicken. Pour into buttered pan; cut into squares while cooling. Let air dry and then store. Squares can be dusted with cornstarch or powdered sugar to prevent sticking.

1 C. fresh leaves
2 C. sugar
1 C. water
2 Tbsp corn syrup or honey

Combine leaves and water in saucepan; bring to boil and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes; cool, then remove leaves. Squeeze out liquid and add sugar and honey to liquid in pan and stir while bringing to a boil. Then, turn down heat to a gentle simmer; boil to hard crack stage (330 degrees F); test in cool water and when hard enough to crack when bitten, it is done. If it sticks to the teeth - it's not ready. When done, remove from heat and lightly butter a baking pan and pour in the hot mixture. Score the surface after it's cooled enough to be firm; break apart as soon as can be handled. Sift granulated or powdered sugar over the candy.

©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH