Definition of horehound in US English:


(also hoarhound)


  • 1A strong-smelling hairy plant of the mint family, with a tradition of use in medicine.

    Two species in the family Labiatae: white horehound (Marrubium vulgare), a widely distributed plant traditionally used as a medicinal herb, and black horehound (Ballota nigra), a Eurasian plant that has become naturalized in North America and was formerly reputed to cure the bite of a mad dog

    • ‘One of my favorites is horehound, a robust plant that is nearly indestructible and produces clusters of small white flowers that draw tiny flies like magnets.’
    • ‘Other herbs that might be used in tea or syrup to treat cough include horehound, sage and thyme.’
    • ‘The invasion of weeds such as horehound and stemless thistles is a continuing management problem.’
    • ‘Marsh fern, water horehound, spotted touch-me-not, great water dock, and lake sedge live on the soupy mudflats.’
    • ‘The herb garden shows off plants used in cooking, including several varieties of oregano, sage, and thyme to garlics and horehounds.’
    1. 1.1 The bitter aromatic juice of white horehound, used especially in the treatment of coughs and colds.
      • ‘Having tasted a decoction of horehound prepared by an herbalist friend, I find myself wondering if the Navajo name actually doesn't describe the look and color of the face of the herbalist's patient!’
      • ‘Ancient Egyptians, Ayurvedic practitioners and Native American healers used horehound, another highly regarded herbal expectorant, as a cough remedy.’
      • ‘The old standby is hard candy made with horehound, but these herbal drops can be hard to find these days.’
      • ‘Overtly medicinal ingredients, such as horehound, wintergreen, and liquorice, turned the confections into cough drops.’
      • ‘She recommends the use of psyllium for constipation, aloe for jaundice and horehound for cough.’


Old English hāre hūne, from hār (see hoar) + hūne, the name of the white horehound, also applied to related plants.