Ballota nigra Lamiaceae or Labiatae.
Common in Europe, black llOreholmd is distinguished by its llllpleasant 'mouldy'smell.The Roman botanist Dioscorides recommended black horehound as all antidote for the bite if a mad dog. All parts of the plant are hairy, which probably accounts for its common name. In summer pinkish purple flowers are arranged in numerous whorls where the upper leaves meet the square, leafy stems.
Collected in July and August, the flowers are dried, crushed into fragments and used for infusions, decoctions and tinctures.
Black horehound is often combined with other sedative plants.
The flowerheads contain phenylpropanoids, especially verbascocide and forsythoside, which have sedative properties. Antiinflammatory flavonoids are also found in black horehound.
Black horehound is recommended for nervous conditions, particularly insomnia (often combined with passionflower, lime and valerian), anxiety, irritability and nervous problems caused by the menopause.
Research published in 2000 by a team from the University of Lille, France, has confirmed the sedative and antioxidant properties of several of the phenylpropanoids found in black horehound.
Black horehound is antispasmodic and soothes coughing fits and stomach cramps. Preparations with a base of black horehound are used to treat whooping cough. The herb is also used to relieve nausea and vomiting, and ringing in the ears.
Black horehound contains furane and labdane derivatives which may damage the liver, and therefore the plant has to be used with the utmost care.
It should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. . People with liver ailments should not use black horehound.
PREPARATION AND DOSAGE
For internal use
TO TREAT insomnia, anxiety, irritability, nervous problems caused by the menopause, coughing fits, whooping cough, stomach cramps and ringing in the ears
INFUSION Put 15-30g of black horehound flowers into 1 litre of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. Take 3 cups a day before meals.
TINCTURE Take 30 drops in a glass of water three times a day.
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR
Prefers well-drained soil in sun or shade. The plant is harvested during flowering in summer.
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