Marrubium vulgare

 

Botanical Name : Marrubium vulgare
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Marrubium
Species: M. vulgare
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms : Marrubium apulum. Marrubium ballotoides. Marrubium germanicum. Marrubium uncinatum.

Common Names: White Horehound, Horehound or Common horehound

Habitat : Marrubium vulgare is native to Europe, northern Africa, and southwestern and central Asia. It is also widely naturalized in many places, including most of North and South America. It grows on the downs, waste places and roadsides southwards from central Scotland, though perhaps only native near the south coast of England.

Description:
Marrubium vulgare is a grey-leaved herbaceous perennial plant, somewhat resembling mint in appearance, and grows to 25–45 centimetres (10–18 in) tall. The leaves are 2–5 cm (0.8–2.0 in) long with a densely crinkled surface, and are covered in downy hairs.It is in flower from Jun to November, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are white, borne in clusters on the upper part of the main stem. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, self.The plant is self-fertile.

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It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Cultivation:
White horehound is an easily grown plant that succeeds in most well-drained soils, though it flourishes best in a poor dry soil. Another report says that the plant flourishes best where there is plenty of nitrogen in the soil. It prefers neutral to alkaline soil conditions and requires a warm sunny position if it is to do well. Often grown in the herb garden and sometimes cultivated commercially as a medicinal herb. If the plant is cut back after flowering it will normally produce a second crop of leaves. The fresh leaves have a pronounced musky smell, though this is lost once the plant is dried. A good bee plant. White horehound is a good companion plant for growing near tomatoes. The tomatoes crop for a longer period and also produce a heavier crop.

Propagation :
Seed – sow April/May or August/September in a cold frame. Germination can be slow and erratic. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the following spring. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Edible Uses:… Condiment; Tea…..The leaves are used as a seasoning. Bitter and pungent, they are sometimes used to flavour herb beer or liqueurs. Horehound ale is a fairly well-known drink made from the leaves. A mild pleasantly flavoured tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves, it is a favourite cough remedy.
Medicinal Uses:
White horehound is a well-known and popular herbal medicine that is often used as a domestic remedy for coughs, colds, wheeziness etc. The herb apparently causes the secretion of a more fluid mucous, readily cleared by coughing. The leaves and young flowering stems are antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, strongly expectorant, hepatic, stimulant and tonic. Horehound is a very valuable pectoral, expectorant and tonic that can be safely used by children as well as adults. It is often made into a syrup or candy in order to disguise its very bitter flavour, though it can also be taken as a tea. As a bitter tonic, it increases the appetite and supports the function of the stomach. It can also act to normalize heart rhythm. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and can be used fresh or dried. The root is a remedy for the bite of rattlesnakes, it is used in equal portions with Plantago lanceolata or P. major. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Marrubium vulgare for dyspepsia, loss of appetite.

It’s bitterness stimulates the appetite and also promotes bile, making large doses laxative. The whole herb and its derivatives are used in thousands of lung medications around the world, especially for treating bronchitis and coughs. The essential oils and marrubiin dilate the arteries and help to ease lung congestion. The herb apparently causes the secretion of a more fluid mucus, which is more readily cleared by coughing. Marrubiin also normalizes the heart beat and is a weak sedative. At one time, horehound was suggested for relieving menstrual pain and slowing a rapid heart beat. Since it also induces sweating, it has been used to reduce fevers, even those associated with malaria. It is less commonly used as a decoction for skin conditions. Old recipes call for the leaves to be boiled in lard and applied to wounds.

Several modern scientific studies have been conducted on the usefulness of horehound. For example, a 2011 study concluded that the essential oil of M. vulgare contains potent antimicrobial and anticancer properties, while a 2012 study found marrubiin, one of the primary active compounds found in horehound, to possess “antidiabetic, anti-atherogenic and anti-inflammatory properties”.

Other Uses:…Essential; Repellent……..An essential oil is obtained from the plant and used as a flavouring in liqueurs. The plant has been used as a cure for cankerworm in trees. No more details are given but it is probably a strong infusion of the flowering shoots, or the essential oil, that is used. The growing plant repels flies.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marrubium_vulgare
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Marrubium+vulgare
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

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