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Horehound herb (Marrubium vulgare)Latin Name: Marrubium vulgare
Common Names: Horehound herb
Candy made with dried horehound herb is mentioned briefly in the 1961 novel Where The Red Fern Grows; those of you who have read the book may recall the protagonist's description of his grandfather's store and the various sweets he kept in stock. This however is not the most common use of the organic herbs that botanists know as marrubium vulgare.
The name of horehound herb has little to do with hunting dogs, although the first element is derived from the ancient Anglo-Saxon word for “white-haired.” Horehound herb is in fact one of many medicinal herbs indigenous to the British Isles, and was introduced around the world by European colonists between the 17th and mid-19th centuries. It is essentially a weed, although gardeners in the rural areas of England's Midlands District frequently cultivate bulk herbs such as horehound herb for use in tea and candy making.
The scientific name for horehound herb, marrubium vulgare, may be derived from the old Roman town of Maria Urbs; alternatively, it may also be named for the Marrobus Water of the Bible, a bitter juice used by the Hebrews and made from the bitter herbs eaten during Passover. In ancient times, c/s horehound herb was thought to be an antidote for plant-based toxins and poisonous snakes, although such properties of horehound herb are doubtful. Use of any organic bulk herbs for medicinal purposes should be undertaken only under the guidance of a licensed herbalist or other medical professional, because even quality bulk herbs can have side effects and interactions if not used properly.
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