So in one of my previous posts I covered Balds Leech Book and how one of the remedies in the 10th century work was found to be effective against antibiotic resistant bacteria’s. The ancient books is full of interesting recipes and remedies that are for the most part... well kinda gross. But it’s a great view into the past and what medicine was once like.
However many of the ingredients do have medicinal uses. So in today’s post I’m going to cover Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) and it’s many medicinal uses as a wild plant.
Above is a picture of White Horehound accompanied by the 1,000 year old remedy used for parasitic infections in the ear... I can’t say whether or not this would be effective for that particular ailment. What is known is that Horehound does possess a lot of medicinal uses. The plant itself contains vitamin C, essential oils, flavonoids, alkaloids, bitter lactone, saponin, sterols, tannins, monoterpenes and diterpenes. One study done in Tunisia showed that Horehound essential oil was extremely effective in treating bacterial and fungal infections that were unusually robust when faced with conventional treatment. I will include a link to the study at the end of the post.
Horehound has been proven to be an extremely effective expectorant. This is probably due to the marrubiin found in the plant. Add to this it’s proven antispasmodic effects and it becomes evident why we have been using this plant for almost a century in cough drops. Another reason it has been used in cough remedies is that it acts like a mild vasodilator which in turn helps relax the bronchioles allowing mucous to move freely up and out.
For people struggling with dyspepsia this plant is wonderful for providing relief... though no spoon full of sugar to help you chomp it down. The bitterness is the point as once we taste something bitter our stomach, pancreas, and liver spring into high speed to help us break down the incoming bitter thing we just chomped down. It’s this plants ability to kick our digestive system into high gear that makes it a tried and true appetite stimulant.
One of the more interesting uses is the reputed use of Horehound as a remedy for motion sickness. I’m unsure as to whether or not this is true but Horehound tonics for motion sickness have been sold for many years. Interestingly though, whether prepared as a tea, oil, or even cough drop the benefits of the plant seem to shine through. The quantity of leaves (same amount you find in a store bought tea bag. Two tea spoons) to make a tea for motion sickness is the same amount of dried leaf as a tea for a cough. It’s also used in oils and turned into lozenges.
It’s been interesting going through remedies that are over 1,000 years old. Though some are rather barbaric, others seem like they would work. Given that Horehound has such strong antiseptic properties and is so closely related to Mint I can’t imagine it would make the ear a comfortable place for parasites ....so maybe it did work. Sadly no research has been done into that so I can’t say. I can say it has been a treat combining my love of history and wild plants. Balds Leech Book is a fascinating glimpse into our past and the way we once interpreted health and disease.
Well guys that’s it for now. I’ll include some links to different studies done with Horehound below. Thank you so much for reading and looking forward to checking out all your amazing projects and posts. Keep on Steeming. :)
Links to studies and additional information.
Cambridge University Online Library