Although it may have a funny name, the many health benefits of white horehound are no joke. Marrubium vulgare, or white horehound, is a perennial related to mint and hailing from countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The young shoots and leaves can be used fresh or dried, and the herb may even be found in a tincture or liquid extract. Read on to learn more about the incredible health benefits of this herb.
Health Benefits of White Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
1. Respiratory Aid
Because it has potent anti-inflammatory properties, white horehound can effectively treat respiratory issues and infections such as asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough. It also successfully treats coughs from the common cough and helps to expel mucus from the system, allowing you to breathe easier.
2. Fights Cancer
Although research is premature, many believe that white horehound may have some impressive benefits for preventing and treating cancer. It is believed that the herb can stop the growth of cancer cells in the body, making it a much easier problem to tackle. White horehound also has powerful antioxidants, which can help neutralize and eliminate free radicals, potentially lowering your risk of cancer in the first place.
3. Improves Digestion
White horehound aids the spleen and liver in performing their normal functions optimally and thus helps to eliminate waste and toxins from the body. By doing so, the herb can reduce indigestion, bloating, cramping, and other digestive issues. It is also used to treat excessive gas.
4. Reduces Inflammation
As briefly mentioned, white horehound has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Not only does this make it effective in treating respiratory conditions, but it also makes the herb effective in reducing inflammation throughout the entire body. The effects of gout and arthritis can both be reduced when adding Marrubium vulgare to your day.
5. Heart Help
This herb supports a healthy heart by reducing cholesterol levels in the body. By reducing the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the body and preventing buildup in the arteries, white horehound helps prevent heart attacks and strokes.
6. Regulates Blood Sugar
For diabetics, it is crucial to maintain a healthy blood sugar level to avoid going into diabetic shock. White horehound helps the body effectively deal with glucose, especially in large amounts, and maintain a healthy level of blood sugar.
Whether it’s muscle cramps from dehydration or excess activity, or regular seizures, white horehound can help treat these spasms in the body. Because it targets the nervous system, the herb can be used regularly to prevent these episodes. Women have also found the herb to be effective in treating cramps related to menstruation.
8. Immune Aid
Marrubium vulgare also contains antibiotic and antimicrobial properties, making it an effective aid in eliminating threats to the immune system.
How to Use White Horehound
Horehound can be used for either internal or external purposes. For external treatments, it can be ground and made into a soothing topical balm. To ease internal discomfort, it can be made into a syrup or taken in tea. It is also available in extract, powdered or capsule form.
If you have a fresh horehound plant ready for harvesting, you’ll want to cut it only after the floral buds appear. Store the pieces of the plant in various jars, making sure to seal them so that it will dehydrate over time.
Making Horehound Tea
Making horehound tea is very simple. If you have the dried leaves, you only need about one teaspoon in a cup of boiling water to get the full flavor. If you prefer an infusion, use more of the horehound (about 2 ounces) in boiling water. In both cases, you want the herb to be allowed to steep for a little over ten minutes before straining.
Making Horehound Tincture
In a jar with a lid, place fresh horehound leaves and cover it with alcohol. You’ll want to store this jar out of any direct light and agitate it periodically throughout the day. In two weeks’ time, pour the liquid over a mesh, like a cheesecloth, and keep it in a dark glass bottle. If you choose to make an extract, the ratio of 20% ethanol to fresh horehound is 1:1. A tincture can be made at 1:5 ratio when using vodka.
Because it does contain some health risks, especially when taken in large amounts, it is wise to consult both a certified herbalist as well as your primary physician before adding white horehound to your regimen. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and those with ulcers or stomach issues should not use the herb. Those with skin sensitivity may want to wear gloves when handling the fresh plant to avoid skin irritation.
Once you understand how to best incorporate white horehound into your life, you can start reaping the many benefits of this herb.