Drugs A - Z

Black horehound (Ballota nigra)

Generic Name: Ballota nigra

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Alpha-humulene, alpha-pinene, alpha-tocopherol, alyssonoside, angoroside A, arenarioside, arthritis, ballonigrin, Ballota, Ballota antalyense, Ballota glandulosissima, Ballota larendana, Ballota macrodonta, Ballota nigra, Ballota nigra subsp. Anatolica, Ballota pseudodictamnus, Ballota rotundifolia, Ballota saxatilis, ballotenol, ballotetroside, ballotinone, beta-pinene, black horehound, black stinking horehound, bronchial complaints, caffeoyl-L-malic acid, caffeoyl malic acid, caryophyllene, copaene, delta-cadinene, diterpene, forsythoside B, germacrene-D, gout, lactoylate flavonoids, Lamiaceae (family), lavandulifolioside, linalool, lipid peroxidation, marrubiin, phenylpropanoid, phenylpropanoid glycosides, polyphenols, sabinene, superoxide anion formation, verbascoside.

Note: Black horehound should not be confused with white horehound (Marrubium vulgare L.) or water horehound (Lycopus americanus, also known as bugleweed).

Background

Black horehound (Ballota nigra) is a three-foot, perennial herb of the family Lamiaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean and central Asia, and can be found throughout Europe and the eastern United States. Black horehound has a very strong smell, and can be recognized by its clusters of hairy, reddish-purple flowers. The aerial parts of the plant are used medicinally, either alone or in combination with other herbs. Usually, the aerial parts are prepared as an herbal extract.

Black horehound has been used in traditional European herbalism for nervous dyspepsia (upset stomach), traveling sickness, morning sickness in pregnancy, arthritis, gout (foot inflammation), menstrual disorders, and bronchial complaints.

Black horehound has been used for nausea and vomiting, and as a mild sedative. However, its popularity has waned due to the plant's extremely foul odor. Although clinical data is lacking, laboratory studies indicate that black horehound may have some sedative, antioxidant, and antibiotic properties.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Animal bites (dog), antibacterial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, anxiety, arthritis, astringent, blood purifier, bronchial irritation, cleansing, convulsions, depression, diuretic, emmenagogue (stimulates menstruation), expectorant, genital warts, gout (foot inflammation) high cholesterol, hysteria, insect bites, insomnia, intestinal worms, menopause, menstrual disorders, motion sickness, nausea and vomiting, nervous disorders, nervous stomach, nutrition, resolvent, scrapes, sedative, snake bite, stimulant, stomach disorders, sunburn, travel sickness, uterotonic.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for black horehound. Traditionally, black horehound has been taken as a dried herb, tea, syrup or tincture. For instance, 2-4 grams of dried herb have been taken three times a day; 3 cups of tea (prepared using 2oz. fresh horehound leaves per 2.5 cups of fresh, non-chlorinated water) have been taken daily; 1 teaspoonful of syrup has been taken three times a day, or every two hours, for acute illness; and 10-15 drops of tincture (1:10, 45% ethanol) has also been taken three times daily.

Children (younger than 18 years)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for black horehound in children.

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