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What is Horehound Tea?

Horehound tea may be use to treat a sore throat.
Horehound tea can lessen headache pain caused by a sinus infection.
Horehound tea may be used to treat indigestion.
Horehound tea can be used to treat diarrhea and gastritis.
Horehound tea is made by steeping the herb's leaves in boiling hot water.
Horehound tea can alleviate coughing due to upper respiratory illness.
Article Details
  • Written By: Greer Hed
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 09 July 2015
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Horehound tea is an herbal tea made with the leaves of the white horehound plant. Tea brewed with horehound leaves can be used to treat a wide variety of minor ailments. It is particularly effective in alleviating the symptoms of upper respiratory disorders, such as cough or asthma. Horehound tea is also used medicinally to relieve night-time acid reflux, abdominal pain and indigestion, lessen the pain of headaches caused by sinus infections, and reduce symptoms related to the common cold. The herb also soothes the pain and itching caused by a sore throat.

White horehound is a perennial herb and a member of the mint family. It is indigenous to Europe, but it may also be found growing in North and South America. The name "horehound" is apparently derived from the name of the Egyptian hawk-headed god of light, Horus, as an alternative name for the plant is "seed of Horus." Horehound leaves contain marrubiinic acid, tannins, resins, and flavinoids.

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It is the marrubiinic acid, or marrubiin, in horehound tea that gives the tea most of its beneficial medicinal properties. Marrubiin is an expectorant that stimulates the salivary glands and the bronchioles, which helps remove phlegm and mucus from the lungs, chest and throat. It also stimulates the production of more gastric juice and speeds up the process of digestion, which in turn minimizes the occurrence of night-time acid reflux. Marrubiin is also an analgesic compound, which is why horehound tea is effective in reducing the pain caused by sore throat, sinus infection or indigestion.

Another active component of horehound tea is tannin. Tannins have anti-inflammatory and astringent properties that shrink down organic compounds like proteins, amino acids, and alkaloids. For this reason, horehound was used historically to treat victims of poisoning. In modern times, the medicinal uses of tannin include the treatment of diarrhea, hemorrhoids, gastritis, and enteritis. The ingestion of too many tannins can be dangerous, however, as tannins interfere with the body's ability to absorb vital nutrients like calcium and iron.

A single cup of horehound tea may be made by pouring one cup of boiling water over one teaspoon of dried horehound leaves. This infusion must then be allowed to sit, covered, for about 10 to 15 minutes. The horehound leaves may then be strained out, and the tea may be sweetened with honey or molasses to combat the bitter flavor of the herb. Horehound tea should not be sweetened with sugar, as this is believed to nullify some of its beneficial effects.

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Animandel
Post 3

It's interesting that sweetening the horehound tea with sugar is not recommended since this can take away some of the benefits of the tea. Though I haven't tried horehound tea, I do use sugar in the herbal teas I do drink. I bet sugar has the same effect on many of the other herbal teas, and we just are not aware of this. At least, I wasn't aware of this. I think I'll start using more honey in place of sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Sporkasia
Post 2

@Feryll - Various types of tea and herbs of many kinds can be great sources for curing whatever ails us, but they can also be dangerous when used for certain conditions. I had a friend who was drinking echinacea tea to help deal with her chronic sinus infections. When she went to the doctor and told him she was taking the echinacea he advised her to not consume echinacea in any form because the herb might has a negative impact on her high blood sugar.

I tell this story only to make the point that you should let your friend know about the possible medicinal effects of horehound tea before he drinks it. In fact, he should probably consult his doctor before drinking horehound tea. You would not want to be responsible for making his condition worse than it already is.

Feryll
Post 1

My old roommate from college has been dealing with acid reflux lately and he hasn't had much luck getting the condition under control. His doctor has suggested several medications, but they have not stopped the condition. I suggested that he try some of the herbs with medicinal benefits, but I don't think he takes my suggestions very seriously.

After reading this article, I think I will send him some horehound tea. I'll just tell him it is a really good tasting tea, and see whether he will try it. If I tell him I am sending the tea to help with his acid reflux he will never try it.

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