White Horehound

Other Name(s):

Bonhomme, Common Horehound, Grand Bonhomme, Herbe aux Crocs, Herbe Vierge, Horehound, Houndsbane, Marrube Blanc, Marrube des Champs, Marrube Commun, Marrube Vulgaire, Marrubii Herba, Marrubio Blanco, Marrubium, Marrubium vulgare, Mastranzo.


White horehound is a plant. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

White horehound is used for digestion problems including loss of appetite, indigestion, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and liver and gallbladder complaints. It is also used for lung and breathing problems including cough, whooping cough, asthma, tuberculosis, bronchitis, and swollen breathing passages.

Women use white horehound for painful menstrual periods.

People also use it for yellowed skin (jaundice), to kill parasitic worms, to cause sweating, and to increase urine production.

White horehound is sometimes applied to the skin for skin damage, ulcers, and wounds.

In manufacturing, the extracts of white horehound are used as flavoring in foods and beverages, and as expectorants in cough syrups and lozenges. Expectorants are ingredients that make it easier to cough up phlegm.

How does it work?

The chemicals in white horehound can thin mucus secretions, reduce spasms in the stomach and intestines, and decrease swelling (inflammation).


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Diabetes. Early research suggests that drinking tea prepared from white horehound before meals, in addition to taking medication for diabetes, for 3 weeks slightly slower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, drinking tea prepared from guarumo for the same duration seems to have a greater blood sugar-lowering effect.
  • Liver and gallbladder problems.
  • Constipation.
  • Fluid retention (edema).
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Indigestion.
  • Bloating.
  • Gas (flatulence).
  • Coughs and colds.
  • Skin damage.
  • Ulcers.
  • Wounds.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of white horehound for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

White horehound is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in food amounts. It's POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as a medicine. However, taking white horehound by mouth in very large amounts is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Large amounts can cause vomiting. Applying white horehound directly to the skin can cause skin reactions.

Not enough is known about the safety of white horehound when applied to the skin.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to take white horehound by mouth during pregnancy. It might start menstruation and could cause a miscarriage.

If you are breast-feeding stick to food amounts of white horehound. There isn't enough information about the safety of medicinal amounts.

Don't use white horehound on the skin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Not enough is known about the safety of topical use.

Diabetes: White horehound might lower blood sugar. Taking white horehound along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Heart conditions: There is some concern that white horehound might cause irregular heartbeat in people with heart problems. It's best not to use it.

Low blood pressure: White horehound might lower blood pressure. This could cause blood pressure to go to low. White horehound should be used cautiously in people with low blood pressure or those taking medications that lower blood pressure.

Surgery: White horehound might lower blood sugar. This might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking white horehound at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

White horehound might lower blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking white horehound along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

White horehound might lower blood pressure. Taking white horehound along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.


The appropriate dose of white horehound depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for white horehound. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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