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The Health Benefits of Horehound

written by: Lisa Lambson • edited by: Lisa Lambson • updated: 12/30/2010

While Horehound was known as an effective way to ward off magic spells, it is much more effective when used for coughs, sore throats, bronchitis and asthma. Learn how you can use horehound as a natural remedy for these conditions and others.

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    The Horehound Plant

    Horehound has been used for centuries and is known as the most effective singular remedy against coughs. It was first used as a decoction for tuberculosis. If you are familiar with folk history you may have heard of this herb, as it is claimed that just one dose of horehound will break a magic spell. No proof exists that it will ward off the magic spells but it is used effectively in any type of chest ailment such as wheezing, coughing, bronchitis and asthma. It is an essential ingredient in many over the counter cough syrups and cough drops.

    Horehound is native to the Mediterranean region but is now in North America and grows well in dry, hot areas like the Western and Southwestern United States. Stems, leaves and flowers can be used for herbal remedies. Horehound can be harvested at any time during the growing season, from spring to fall, whether the plant is in bloom or not.

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    Can Horehound Help Your Symptoms?

    Horehound contains an oil that has an anti inflammatory and mucus thinning effect on the lungs and throat. It also contains flavonoids, tannins and marrubiin (which is a bitter that aids in expectoration and stimulates the gastric juices and appetite and increases the production of bile.) A horehound blend can relax spasms of the bronchial tubes to calm coughing while at the same time inducing a thinner mucus flow to clear congestion and soothe a sore throat. Horehound also can be used to improve digestion and aides in nutrient absorption and relieves indigestion, bloating and gas.

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    How To Use Horehound

    Horehound tea can be used to reduce mild fevers especially in children over the age of one. This tea can be made by steeping one cup of hot water with one teaspoon of dried horehound or two teaspoons of fresh horehound for ten minutes. Strain and drink one cup three times a day until the fever subsides. The same tea can be used up to four times a day to soothe coughs. Add honey or maple syrup to sweeten the tea.

    The above tea can be made into a cough syrup by taking several cups of the tea and simmering it until it is reduced by half. Add an equal amount of honey and simmer for another minute or two. Remove from heat and add one teaspoon spearmint oil and cool and refrigerate. Take one teaspoon up to four times daily.

    Another horehound tea blend that is beneficial for bronchitis or asthma is made by blending four tablespoons of horehound, two tablespoons each of mullein leaves and wild cherry bark and one tablespoon each of peppermint leaves and agrimony. Steep one teaspoon of the horehound blend in one cup of hot water for ten minutes. Strain this and add sweetener if you like and drink up to four times a day.

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    The information in this article should not be considered medical advice. The information in this article is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your physician before taking any products or following any advice you have read on Always consult your doctor before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your doctor before use.