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What is Horehound Used for Today?
Horehound is recommended by some current herbalists as a treatment for cough , asthma , and sore throat . In addition, like other bitter herbs, horehound is thought to enhance appetite, and Germany’s Commission E has approved it for this use. However, there is no reliable scientific evidence to support these uses. Only double-blind , placebo-controlled studies can prove a treatment effective, and none have been performed on horehound. (For information on why such studies are essential, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies? )
It is commonly stated that horehound loosens bronchial mucous, but there is no meaningful evidence to support this claim. Very weak evidence (far too weak to be relied upon at all), hints that horehound or its constituents marrubenol and marrubiin might have smooth-muscle relaxant, 1 antidiabetic , 2 blood pressure–lowering , 3 and nonnarcotic pain-reducing effects. 4
- El Bardai S, Morel N, Wibo M, et al. The vasorelaxant activity of marrubenol and marrubiin from Marrubiumvulgare. Planta Med. 2003;69:75–7.
- Roman Ramos R, Alarcon-Aguilar F, Lara-Lemus A, et al. Hypoglycemic effect of plants used in Mexico as antidiabetics. Arch Med Res. 1992;23:59–64.
- El Bardai S, Lyoussi B, Wibo M, et al. Pharmacological evidence of hypotensive activity of Marrubium vulgare and Foeniculum vulgare in spontaneously hypertensive rat. Clin Exp Hypertens. 2001;23:329–43.
- De Jesus RA, Cechinel-Filho V, Oliveira AE, et al. Analysis of the antinociceptive properties of marrubiin isolated from Marrubium vulgare. Phytomedicine. 2000;7:111–5.