Marrubium Vulgare

Marrubium vulgare is a herbaceous perennial plant native to different regions of Africa, Europe and Asia. It is commonly known as White Horehound or Common Horehound. These flowering plants from the Lamiaceae family are used for edible purposes. Decoction and tincture made from their leaves and flowers are also quite popular as folk medicines. The essential oil extracted from the leaves of these plants also has many uses.

White Horehound Scientific Name

The White Horehound plants are better known by their scientific name Marrubium vulgare.

Marrubium vulgare History

This medicinal plant has a long history of being used by humans; however, it has lost much of its popularity over the years. Ancient Egyptians dedicated these Horehound plants to the God of the Morning Sun Horus. Candies made from the extracts of these plants were one of the most popular remedies for cough and sore throat during ancient times. People also used the Marrubium vulgare leaves as a tobacco substitute.

Marrubium vulgare Description

They are sometimes considered to be a weedy species without much decorative value.

Marrubium vulgare Picture
Picture 1 – Marrubium vulgare

Height: They can grow anywhere between 25 cm and 45 cm (10 inches and 18 inches) in height.

Stem: Their square stem is covered in short whitish hair. The stem often turns woody around the base.

Leaves: They have grayish and hairy opposite leaves with crinkled surface growing 2 to 5 cm in length. These roundish leaves are bitter with a strong aroma.

Flowers: These plants have small white flowers growing in clusters near the upper parts of the stem.

Marrubium vulgare Distribution

These herbal plants are native to Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean regions as well as North Africa. They also grow in the south-eastern regions of Australia.

Marrubium vulgare Cultivation

These perennial plants can be cultivated form seeds. The seeds should be stratified for at least 6 to 8 weeks if they are to be sowed indoors in pots. One can also sow them outside during fall. The seeds take somewhere between 1 and three weeks to germinate. The seeds should be provided with a temperature around 64 °F during night and 79 °F during day to germinate indoors. These herbal plants flower around early spring.

Growing Conditions

Soil: These self seeding plants prefer well drained alkaline and calcareous soils; however they also grow well in other types of soils.

Sunlight: They grow well in full sunlight as well as under light shades.

Water: Regular watering is necessary for their proper growth as these perennial plants need moist soil to grow properly.

Fertilizers: They do not need any special fertilizers; however, one may apply all purpose garden fertilizers during early spring.

Harvesting

The leaves of these Horehound plants can be collected as required.

Marrubium vulgare Health Benefits

Many health benefits can be derived from these medicinal plants:

  • They have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The expectorant properties make them beneficial for coughs and colds.
  • It is also beneficial for respiratory ailments like bronchitis, whooping cough and asthma.
  • It increases the secretion of various stomach acids.
  • They are also proved to be beneficial for heartburn.
  • These plants can increase appetite.
  • According to some researchers, it can effectively control blood sugar levels.
  • It can stimulate the central nervous system.
  • These medicinal plants are also beneficial for headaches and toothaches.

Marrubium vulgare Nutritional Value

The edible leaves, flowers and young shoots of these herbal plants do not have much nutritional value; however, consuming them is not unhealthy.

Images of Marrubium vulgare
Picture 2 – Marrubium vulgare Image

Uses of Marrubium vulgare

Different parts of these herbal plants are used for various purposes:

Edible Uses

  • These plants are widely used for making hard lozenges, cough drops and other candies.
  • They are also used for making herbal tea.
  • The Marrubium vulgare leaves and their essential oil extraction are used for flavoring wines and ales in some countries.

Medicinal Uses

  • A decoction made from these plants is used for the treatments of cough, bronchitis, asthma and whopping cough.
  • It is used as heart tonic to normalize irregular heartbeats and calm a nervous heart.
  • They are used for reducing many gastrointestinal problems including indigestion and bloating.
  • They are used for treating typhoid and paratyphoid fever.
  • These plants are used for controlling blood sugar.
  • They are also used for alleviating nausea and vomiting.
  • These medicinal plants are sometimes used for curing some skin problems.

Other Uses

The leaves and stems of these Horehound plants are used as an insect repellant.

Using Marrubium vulgare during Pregnancy

It is advisable to avoid this herb and its essential oil in any form during pregnancy.

Marrubium vulgare Side Effects

It is quite harmless when used as a flavoring agent; however, there are some side effects of consuming this medicinal herb in large amounts:

  • Over consumption can disturb the proper rhythm of the heart.
  • It may also cause stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • People with diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, heart problems and hypoglycemia should use this herb with caution.

Marrubium vulgare Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about these herbal plants:

  • This herb is believed to be able to provide protection against witches and their evil doings.
  • Greek pharmacologist Pedanius Dioscorides believed these medicinal plants can be used as an anti-venom for snake bites and other poisonous insects and animals.
  • Stems of these horehound plants were used as wicks and floated on oil to use it as a source of light during ancient times when electricity was not discovered and commonly installed.

Marrubium vulgare Availability

Marrubium vulgare candies are available in many candy stores around the world. One can also buy them online. The seeds of these plants are available online and in stores. One can also buy Marrubium vulgare extracts from drug stores as well as online. The price for one ounce of this extract varies from $ 5 to $ 10.

Marrubium vulgare Pictures

Here are some images of these medicinal plants.

Pictures of Marrubium vulgare
Picture 3 – Marrubium vulgare Picture

Photos of Marrubium vulgare
Picture 4 – Marrubium vulgare Photo

Marrubium vulgare plants have become much less popular than they used to be. But that does not mean they are not counted among the medicinal herbs of present times. They are still important as folk medicine and candies made from these plants are still quite popular.

References:

http://wyrtig.com/GrowingHeirloomPlants/MarrubiumVulgare.htm#cultivation

http://www.starchild.co.uk/products/6564_3544_horehound-white-organic.aspx

http://www.ann.com.au/herbs/Monographs/marrubiu.htm

http://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=5370

http://www.medical-explorer.com/medicinal-ingredients-m/marrubium-vulgare_1.html

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