The lore behind the bushy herb known as White Horehound in its uses is just as odd as its name. The main medicinal property of this plant is of course Marrubium, and this particular herbal ingredient has been in our cough syrups and other such remedies for hundreds of years. Although the smell of this herb is pleasant the bitter taste is far from it.
In ancient civilizations the uses for this little plant were endless. While it was hailed as a healing medicine for even the most common ailments such as a cold in Italy, Rome and Egypt, it was also used as an antidote for poisons. Most toxic tonics were derived from the milk and or juices from a variety of different plants indigenous to the areas in which the ‘giver’lived. So, naturally when anyone would use the lethal concoctions they usually tested an antidote just in case they happened to find themselves on the short end of that stick. In this case the wooly or cottony foot tall pant was the most used for this purpose.
It was also used for various animal bites of travelers in the above named lands. When wild animals attacked and left deep wounds the victims would chew the White Horehound and stuff it into the laceration to prevent sickness or infection. Although we do not know how many people this method actually worked for we do know that it was ‘believed’ to be the only way to survive.
From snake bites to mixed poisonous potions the White Horehound was widely used. Another use in ancient civilizations was for protection against the conjuring of the evil magic that most had believed to cause sickness and even death. This strangely named herb has been a flourishing part of the medical society for thousands of years. Even today its qualities are well known to help aid in our ailmentsÃ¢Â?Â¦ especially for sicknesses in the lungs.
“The Seed of Horus”, as the ancient Egyptian priests called it, can grow almost anywhere. It grows the best in extreme dryness and areas where the soil is poor, which is why you can pretty much guarantee to find it amongst a field of dried weeds. It is noteworthy to remember, should you plant some in your herb garden, The White Horehound will not blossom until it is at least two years old.
There are many types of Horehound and are all an important part of the mint family. In today’s world we still use this precious plant for tea, candies, lozenges and yes, cough syrups.
To make a sweet treat using the medicinal benefits of this herb, make the following recipe.
~ Pull a fresh plant from the ground. Wash thoroughly, using the leaves, root and the stock. Usually we do not use the berries or blossoming areas. Boil down the plant in about three to four cups of water until plenty of juice is extracted, making the liquid potent in scent. Remove from heat and add sugar to taste (appx. One to two cups depending on the amount of water). Stir until all sugar is dissolved and replace on burner, returning to a rapid boil. When the liquid becomes thick, pour it into a cool shallow pan or baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. When it is cooled enough, cut it into 1 inch squares and chill over night. For a warm tea to soothe that pesky winter cold or cough, simply boil a few leaves (dried or fresh) and drizzle a little honey to taste.
If you want to make your own cough syrups that are safe and natural, boil the leaves until all juice is again extracted, add sugar and return to boil. Once it is thick remove from heat. Cool and take as needed.
So, whether it be for warding off evil spells placed against your family or to ease a sore throat and wicked cough, The White Horehound is a pleasant herb to plant in any garden for its many purposes. Happy cooking, and healthy living.