The Herb of the Month for September 2021 is Horehound, Marrubium vulgare.
Horehound is a flowering cultivar from the mint family and is a native of Europe, western Asia, and north Africa. This hardy perennial plant has been introduced to North America and Australia concurrent with colonization and will even tolerate dry and poor soil. Horehound is one of the bitter herbs that can be used for the Passover festivities.
Horehound, or white horehound has downy leaves and clusters of white flowers that are above each set of leaves.
This plant has a lovely apple-like aroma. Medicinally it has been used since the first century to treat cold and flu symptoms, coughs, respiratory issues, and also digestive issues. It has also been used as a protection against witches. Today it is part of the herbs used in the Ricola brand cough drops. Horehound is available as a powder, tincture, syrup, cough drop, or candy.
Teas and many other products can be made at home using the harvest from your own garden.
Include Horehound in your garden by using seeds, cuttings, or plant divisions. For success, be sure to plant at least 3 weeks before the last frost. A plant division might be the easiest way to include this potentially invasive plant. Black horehound can also be used medicinally but it has an unpleasant smell.
Use dried leaves. Pick your horehound fresh from the garden and dry by hanging the plant upside down inside your house. Place dried leaves into a ceramic pot and allowing to steep for at least 5 minutes. Strain and enjoy, adding honey or some other fruit juice.
Make a strong infusion using horehound by boiling one cup of leaves for 10 minutes and then allowing it to steep 5 more minutes. Strain.
Using one cup of this infusion, add 2 cups of sugar with one teaspoon of tartar. Dissolve over low heat and slowly increase the heat to 290 degrees Use a candy thermometer. If you do not have a candy thermometer, then drop a little into cold water to see if the product hardens.
1 oz. dried horehound into
1 pint filtered boiling water
Add the herb into the boiling water, remove from heat, and steep for 10 minutes.
Strain the leaves out and cool until the liquid is warm.
Add honey: 2 parts honey to 1 part liquid
Place into a clean mason jar and store.