Horehound – Marrubium vulgare

Parts used: leaf, flower

Traditional uses: Infusion of whole plant used for flushing the kidneys. Taken for colds. Mixed with sugar to make cough syrup. Decoction of leaves used for coughs.

“White Horehound has long been noted for its efficacy in lung troubles and coughs…Preparations of Horehound are still largely used as expectorants and tonics. It may, indeed, be considered one of the most popular pectoral remedies, being given with benefit for chronic cough, asthma, and some cases of consumption…Taken in large doses, it acts as a gentle purgative. The powdered leaves have also been employed as a vermifuge and the green leaves, bruised and boiled in lard, are made into an ointment which is good for wounds.” ~Grieve MH 

Bitter tea used for colds – “Horehound is one of the best cold remedies. Just take a panful of horehound leaves, add water, and keep warm on the back of the stove for several days. Then pour off the liquid and concentrate it further by boiling. This is the standard cough medicine of the Ozarks, but it’s pretty bitter. Many people think that horehound tea should be mixed with wild honey the blacker the honey the more effective the syrup. Some young folk like it better if the mother adds a lot of sugar to make horehound candy, which is poured out on a buttered platter and allowed to harden, then broken into pieces and distributed among the children.” ~Randolph OMF 93

Horehound and raspberry leaf for scanty or painful flow – “A tea brewed from horehound and raspberry leaves is recommended to young girls who complain of a scanty or painful flow…” ~Randolph OMF 194

Pine tar and horehound for a cough – “Somethin’ else good fer coughs was horehound with pine tar. Take an’ burn your pine knots until the tar gits to runnin’ good an’ mix with horehound. Stops a cough in a big hurry.” ~Pompey GG

Candy used for cold – “Make horehound candy.” ~Carter and Krause HRIO

Used for a cold – “Make a liquid by adding water to horehound leaves. Boil and keep warm. Give about a teaspoon every few hours.” ~Parler FBA II 1845


Carter, Kay & Bonnie Krause Home Remedies of the Illinois Ozarks (HRIO)

Grieve, Margaret A Modern Herbal (MH)

Moerman, Daniel E. Native American Ethnobotany (NAE)

Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Pompey, Sherman Lee Granny Gore’s Ozark Folk Medicine (GG)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)