Image for White horehound (Labiatae)
White horehound (Marrubium vulgare Labiatae)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Acylated flavonoid, alkaloids, almindelig kransburre (Danish), andorn (German, Swedish), Andornkraut (German), antioxidants, bitter lactone, blanc rubi (French), bonhomme (French), borremynte (Norwegian), bouenriblé (French), bull's blood, common hoarhound, diterpene alcohols, diterpene marrubiin, diterpenoid, eye of the star, flavonoids, Gemeiner Andorn (German), Gewöhnlicher Andorn (German), glycosides, Gotteshilfe (German), grand bon-homme (French), grand-bonhomme (French), haran haran, herbe aux crocs (French), herbe vierge (French), hoarhound, horehound, Horus frø (Danish), hound-bane, houndsbane, Hvit andorn (Norwegian), Hvit marrau (Norwegian), jablečník obecný (Czech), kransborre (Swedish), kransburre (Dutch), labdane, Labiatae (family), ladanein, Lamiaceae (family), lectins, Llwyd y cwn (Welsh), maltrasté (Spanish), mapiochin (French), mapoichin mont blancmariblé (French), mariblé, Mariennessel (German), marinclin, marrochemin (French), marroio (Brazilian Portuguese), marroio-branco (Brazilian Portuguese), marromba, marrube (Danish), marrube blanc (French), marrube commun (French), marrube des champs (French), marrube officinal, marrube vulgaire (French), marrubenol, marrubic acid, marrubii herba, marrubiin, marrubinic acid, marrubio (Spanish), marrubio commune (Italian), marrubium, Marrubium vulgare, marruboside, maruil, marvel, mastranzo (Spanish), monoterpenes, mont blanc (French), okseblod (Danish), orvosi pemetefű (Hungarian), p-menthane-5,6-dihydroxy-3-carboxylic acid, phenylethanoid glycosides, phenylpropanoid esters, premarrubiin, Ricola®, saponin, seed of Horus, sesquiterpene, soldier's tea, sterol, stjernens øye (Danish), szanta zwyczajna (Polish), tannins, thymol, ürt-penimünt (Estonian), vitamin C, Weisser Andorn (German), Weisser Dorant (German), wild horehound, witte malrove (Dutch), woolly horehound.
  • Note: White horehound is not to be confused with black horehound (Ballota nigra) or water horehound (Lycopus americanus, also known as bugleweed).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background

  • Since ancient Egypt, white horehound (Marrubium vulgare L.) has been used as an expectorant. Ayurvedic, Native American, and Australian Aboriginal medicines have traditionally used white horehound to treat respiratory conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned horehound from cough drops in 1989 due to insufficient evidence supporting its efficacy. However, horehound is currently widely used in Europe and can be found in European-made herbal cough remedies sold in the United States (for example, Ricola®). Well-defined clinical evidence to support this (or any other) therapeutic indication of white horehound is lacking. The German Commission E has approved white horehound as a choleretic, indicated for lack of appetite and dyspepsia. However, clinical studies supporting use of white horehound for this indication are unavailable. There is promising early evidence favoring the use of white horehound as a hypoglycemic agent for diabetes mellitus.
  • There is limited evidence on tolerability or toxicity of white horehound in humans. White horehound has been reported to cause hypotension, hypoglycemia, and arrhythmias in animal studies (1;2;3), and is not recommended in pregnancy due to proposed abortifacient properties (4;5).

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.