White Horehound is a gentle presence in the garden and a powerful presence in the apothecary. With soft green leaves and delicate white flower heads that cluster up the stem as Summer climbs to a peak it is rich in aromatics that help respiratory health.
Horehound gets its name from ‘hoar’ meaning white as in ‘hoarfrost’. Like the frosts it comes back every year, and like a seasonal cough out comes the horehound. It is considered a renowned expectorant helping to clear congestion, notably when the cough is unproductive. Downy or hairy plants are often used for helping the lungs with the doctrine of signatures relating the cilia in the respiratory system to the delicate hairs on the leaves.
A member of the mint family, white horehound is a hardy perennial that can withstand heavy frosts as well as periods of drought. It grows to around 60cm tall, prefers full sunshine and thrives in poor, low-nutrient soil. Harvest the leaves before the prickly flower stems start to grow.