This European mint family (Lamiaceae) plant now grows in North America and on other continents as well. The leaf and flower are used medicinally. This plant should not be confused with white horehound, which acts differently.
Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
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Black horehound has been used traditionally for heavy periods.
Cinnamon has been used historically for the treatment of various menstrual disorders, including heavy menstruation.2 This is also the case with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). 3 Other herbs known as astringents (tannin-containing plants that tend to decrease discharges), such as cranesbill, periwinkle, witch hazel, and oak, were traditionally used for heavy menstruation. Human trials are lacking, so the usefulness of these herbs is unknown. Black horehound was sometimes used traditionally for heavy periods, though this approach has not been investigated by modern research.
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Black horehound is sometimes used by herbalists to treat nausea associated with motion sickness.
Black horehound (Ballotta nigra, Marrubium nigrum) is sometimes used by herbalists to treat nausea associated with motion sickness.4 However, there are no clinical trials to confirm its effectiveness for treating this condition.
Black horehound has primarily been used in European traditional herbalism to relieve nausea, anxiety, or the combination of these conditions.1 It was also used as a mild expectorant and to help normalize menstruation.
Phenylpropanoids—flavonoids and compounds found in the volatile oil of black horehound—are believed to be the plant’s major active constituents.5 , 6 A recent test tube study found black horehound phenylpropanoids to have both antioxidant properties and a sedating effect on overactive nerve cells.7 Although no human studies have been conducted with black horehound, the herb is believed to be useful for treating nausea associated motion sickness due to a possible effect on the central nervous system.8
Black horehound is traditionally used as a tea or tincture. Approximately 2 teaspoons of the leaves are added to 1 cup hot water and allowed to steep for 10 to 15 minutes.9 One cup is drunk three times per day. If a tincture is preferred, 1 to 2 ml may be taken three times per day. Black horehound is rarely used alone, and is frequently combined with meadowsweet, chamomile, or ginger for relief of nausea.
There are no reports of adverse effects from use of black horehound when taken in the recommended amounts. Black horehound was traditionally used to treat nausea during pregnancy, though no scientific evaluation of the safety or efficacy of this practice has been conducted. Some sources report that black horehound could induce miscarriage when taken in large amounts.10 Consult with a doctor who is trained in botanical medicine before using horehound during pregnancy.
1. Hoffmann D. The New Holistic Herbal, 3rd ed. Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK: Element, 1990:181.
2. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods,Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 168–70.
3. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 354.
4. Hoffmann D. The Herbal Handbook: A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism. Rochester, New York: Healing Arts Press, 1998, 29.
5. Hoffmann D. The New Holistic Herbal, 3rd ed. Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK: Element, 1990:181.
6. Daels-Rakotoarison DA, Seidel V, Gressier B, et al. Neurosedative and antioxidant activities of phenylpropanoids from Ballota nigra. Arzneim Forsch 2000;50:16–23.
7. Daels-Rakotoarison DA, Seidel V, Gressier B, et al. Neurosedative and antioxidant activities of phenylpropanoids from Ballota nigra. Arzneim Forsch 2000;50:16–23.
8. Hoffmann D. The Herbal Handbook: A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism. Rochester, New York: Healing Arts Press, 1998, 29.
9. Hoffmann D. The New Holistic Herbal, 3rd ed. Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK: Element, 1990:181.
10. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Pulbications, 1998, 175.
Last Review: 05-01-2013
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