.... by Dana Gordon
Marrubium vulgare Lamiaceae
Many will probably remember the days of a most popular candy. Old fashioned horehound candy and with autumn fast upon us, it is also time to start thinking about the dreaded coughs and colds that inevitably come with the colder time of the year. Sipping on warm herbal infusions does a lot for the symptoms, if not the soul, when one is in the deepest cavity of misery but there is more that can be done by the frugal self sustaining home gardener. Horehound has been used since early Egyptian times for bronchial afflictions and coughs and even today is popular in over-the-counter cough medicines. A single cup of horehound tea can have profound impacts on accumulated mucus in the respiratory passages, reducing phlegm and easing the gloom of illness. Use for bronchitis, flu, colds, and sinus infections. Have a sweetener on hand, horehound has a bitter taste!
Not only is it useful for coughs but it is also an attractive plant with densely clustered small, white, pleasantly fragrant flowers that bloom during the summer and downy grayish foliage which is the part harvested. It has been used as a grasshopper repellant with some success for as long as it has been used as a cold remedy. Another benefit is that it is a good companion to tomatoes and peppers attracting beneficial wasps and flies to the garden.
Sow seeds about 1/8 of an inch deep, either in containers or in ground, in spring after all danger of frost as past in full sun, soil temps should be holding at around 50 degrees. The seeds need warm weather to germinate. It is hardy to zone 4 and it is not terribly picky about soil as long as it is not too heavy or too wet. It does well in dry rocky areas, needing only 12 inches of water per year to survive. If you have a place in your garden where nothing else will grow, horehound can probably make it and thrive. It will reach about 2 to 3 feet as a full grown plant so one plant will be enough for a family to use. Horehound will bloom in the second year, once you see the flowers, cut them before they have a chance to dry and go to seed to keep the population of this herb in check as it is member of the mint family so it does have a tendency to seed readily and it will take over if you're not watching!
With all herbs, it is important to be safe. Horehound can adversely affect someone with heart conditions, low blood pressure, or anyone taking any type of insulin because horehound can lower blood sugar levels. Never take horehound while pregnant or nursing.
published on alt.folklore.herbs 1995
4 ounces of fresh horehound leaves
1/2 tsp crushed aniseed,
3 crushed cardamon seed
2 1/2 c of water, simmer this for 20 minutes then strain
Dissolve 2 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 c of brown sugar in the tea liquid. Boil until reaches hard crack stage pour into oiled try. Score when partially cooled. These can be wrapped in wax paper and then dropped in a zip lock. They will store for a long time but mine have never lasted long enough for me to test the length of time they will keep. This is a pretty easy thing to do especially if you've ever made your own candy before. It takes a little time but the effort is worth it.
from: Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Herbs
1 ounce fresh horehound
1 pint boiling water
Add herb to boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain well, you don't want particles left in the liquid. Measure the remaining liquid and then add to that twice the amount of honey. Mix well and bottle. To soothe cough, take 1 teaspoon 4 times a day.
Country farmer in childhood turned urban gardener in adulthood with emphasis on indoor gardening, Dana Gordon, who is a wife and mother of two, has been gardening and preserving food since childhood with the guidance and knowledge of three generations.
Visit her blog at: http://alotgreener.blogspot.com/
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