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 (joint 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.
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).
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.