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Horehound Herb Tea

Helps with coughing

Horehound herb tea (Marrubium vulgare) may be useful if you are experiencing acute or chronic coughs.

It is used traditionally to loosen mucus and phlegm in the bronchial tubes and soothe inflamed tissues.

In addition, modern research shows evidence for lowering high blood pressure, reducing pain, and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, among others.

Horehound Herb Tea


One of the ways it may reduce coughing is by reducing spasms.

An early tissue study found significant antispasmodic activity in smooth muscle tissue.

Schlemper V et al: Antispasmodic effects of hydroalcoholic extract of Marrubium vulgare on isolated tissues, Phytomedicine, September 1996, p211-6

Lowering high blood pressure

Animal studies have shown lower blood pressure with this plant extract in spontaneously hypertensive rats by relaxing vascular activity and protecting aorta endothelium.

El Bardai S et al: Pharmacological evidence of hypotensive activity of Marrubium vulgare and Foeniculum vulgare in spontaneously hypertensive rat, Clinical Exp Hypertension, May 2001, p329-43

El Bardai S et al: Comparative study of the antihypertensive activity of Marrubium vulgare and of the dihydropyridine calcium antagonist amlodipine in spontaneously hypertensive rat, Clinical Exp Hypertension, August 2004, p465-74

El Bardai S et al: The vasorelaxant activity of marrubenol and marrubiin from Marrubium vulgare, Planta Med, January 2003, p75-7

El-Bardai S et al: Characterisation of marrubenol, a diterpene extracted from Marrubium vulgare, as an L-type calcium channel blocker, British Journal Pharmacol, December 2003, p1211-6

Analgesic effects

The researchers found it to be "more potent than some well-known analgesic drugs."

Using marrubiin, the main active chemical of horehound herb, researchers in Brazil studied its pain reducing effects in an animal model.

It did not seem to work in the opioid pain killing systems which might help protect against the development of addiction to a painkiller.

De Jesus RA et al: Analysis of the antinociceptive properties of marrubiin isolated from Marrubium vulgare, Phytomedicine, April 2000, p111-5.

Anti-ulcer action

Animal studies show evidence of horehound herb protection against stomach ulcers.

Use of M. vulgare extract and marubiin significantly increased gastric pH and mucus production.

Another study found the plant active against Helicobacter pylori, a common infection associated with increased risk of stomach ulcers and even gastric cancer.

Paula de Oliveira A et al: Gastroprotective activity of methanol extract and marrubiin obtained from leaves of Marrubium vulgare L. (Lamiaceae), J Pharm Pharmacology, September 2011, p1230-7

Robles-Zepeda RE et al: Antimicrobial activity of Northwestern Mexican plants against Helicobacter pylori, J Med Food October 2011, p1280-3

Anti-cholesterol effects

Animal studies with horehound herb show a significant reduction of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and protection against LDL cellular peroxidation toxicity.

Boudjelal A et al: Compositional analysis and in vivo anti-diabetic activity of wild Algerian Marrubium vulgare L. infusion, Fitoterapia, March 2012, p286-92

Martin-Nizard F et al: Natural phenylpropanoids protect endothelial cells against oxidized LDL-induced cytotoxicity, Planta Med, March 2003, p207-11

Traditional use with diabetes

A study showed rapid lowering of blood sugar ((50% reduction) in an animal model of diabetes.

If this is confirmed with humans, patient usage must be supervised by treating physicians to assure proper interactions with other medication.

Boudjelal A et al: Compositional analysis and in vivo anti-diabetic activity of wild Algerian Marrubium vulgare L. infusion, Fitoterapia, March 2012, p286-92

Antimicrobial benefits

The essential oil of horehound actively inhibits many Gram (+) bacteria and some fungi, including Candida.

Zarai Z et al: The in-vitro evaluation of antibacterial, antifungal and cytotoxic properties of Marrubium vulgare L. essential oil grown in Tunisia, Lipids Health Dis, September 2011, p161

Petrovic S et al: Composition and antimicrobial activity of Marrubium incanum Desr. (Lamiaceae) essential oil, Nat Prod Commun, March 2009, p431-4

Caution about mercury contamination

Many herbs survive on land that is marginal for normal agriculture.

Horehound herb is able to thrive in some of these areas, including areas that may be contaminated with natural or man made toxins.

Studies examining soils contaminated with mercury found that horehound absorbed mercury from the soil and concentrated it.

While this capacity may help clean up industrial contamination, it also may open the door to the sale of adulterated plants.

Increased testing by suppliers may help protect consumers.

Moreno-Jiménez E et al: Mercury bioaccumulation and phytotoxicity in two wild plant species of Almadén area, Chemosphere, June 2006, p1969-73

Carrasco-Gil S et al: Mercury localization and speciation in plants grown hydroponically or in a natural environment, Environ Sci Technology, April 2013, p3082-90

Additional benefits

An initial study found that horehound essential oil showed promise in killing the eggs of mosquitos, mainly because of the thymol content.

Salama MM et al: Molluscicidal and Mosquitocidal activities of the essential oils of Thymus capitatus Hoff. et Link. and Marrubium vulgare L., Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo, Sept-October 2012, p281-6

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This page last updated by Sharon Jones.

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