2.28 Horehound

Botanical name: 

Photo: Marrubium vulgare 1. Latin name: Marrubium vulgare.

2.28.1 Growing horehound

From Jennifer A. Cabbage <fxjac.camelot.acf-lab.alaska.edu>:
Horehound is a perennial native to the Mediterranean and northern Europe, and is naturalized in the United States. It is a good border plant and doesn't require much attention, but is sometimes winter-killed.

Horehound prefers a poor, dry sandy soil, and tolerates a wide pH range- all the way from 4.5 to 8.

Horehound is easily grown from seed sown in shallow holes in fall or early spring. It can also be propagated from stem cuttings, root divisions, or layering. Space seedlings 8 to 15 inches apart.

2.28.2 Harvesting horehound

From Jennifer A. Cabbage <fxjac.camelot.acf-lab.alaska.edu>:
Horehound flowers from June to September, but not always in its first year as plants that are grown from seed may take two years to bloom. Harvest the leaves and flowering tops in peak bloom, they are easy to dry, or can be used fresh.

2.28.3 Using / preserving horehound

From Jennifer A. Cabbage <fxjac.camelot.acf-lab.alaska.edu>:
Horehound tea, cough syrup and candy: (Dried leaves may be used for tea.) Strip leaves from plant, chop into measuring cup. Measure out twice as much water as leaves. Bring water alone to boil, then add horehound. Boil for five minutes, let cool, and strain into jars. Refrigerate resulting infusion until needed.

To make tea: Add twice as much boiling water as horehound infusion. Sweeten to taste.
To make syrup: Add twice as much honey as horehound infusion and a little lemon juice.
To make candy: Add twice as much sugar as horehound infusion, and add about ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar per cup of infusion. Stir to dissolve, and cook over low heat until the hard ball stage (290F) is reached. Pour into buttered plate. Break into pieces when cool.

Old-Time Horehound Candy

From: Fran <frich.TENET.EDU>: from _Herbal Treasures_ by Phyllis V. Shaudys (highly recommended!):

2 cups fresh horehound, including leaves, stems and flowers (or 1 cup dried)
2 ½ quarts water
3 cups brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. lemon juice (or 1 sprig lemon balm)

In large saucepan, cover horehound with water. Bring to boil, simmer 10 min. Strain thru cheesecloth and allow tea to settle. Ladle 2 cups horehound tea into large kettle. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar. Boil, stirring often, until mixture reaches 240F. Add butter. Continue to boil until candy reaches 300F (hard crack). R4move from heat, add lemon juice. Pour at once into buttered 8" square pan. As candy cools, score into squares. Remove from pan as soon as it is cool. Store in aluminum foil or ziplock plastic bags.

Note from Henriette: horehound candy, made with any horehound at all in it, is exceedingly bitter. A far better cough candy can be made by using thyme, hyssop (not anise hyssop) and peppermint instead of the horehound. That mix is actually tasty.