Black Horehound (Ballota nigra)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Black Horehound
Ballota nigra

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    Black horehound has a long history of herbal use, though is not widely employed in modern herbalism because of its unpleasant flavour[238, 268]. Nonetheless, it does have a range of medicinal virtues, being especially effective in its action as an antiemetic[254]. In the past it was often used for treating problems connected with the respiratory system, convulsions, low spirits and the menopause, but present-day authorities differ over whether it was effective in these applications[254].

    The whole plant is antiemetic, antispasmodic, expectorant, stimulant and vermifuge[4, 165, 238]. It is taken internally in the treatment of nervous dyspepsia, travelling sickness, morning sickness in pregnancy, arthritis, gout, menstrual disorders and bronchial complaints[238, 254].

    The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and is dried for later use[238]. It should not be stored for longer than a year[238]. The fresh herb is sometimes used to make a syrup[238].

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring or autumn in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 6 weeks at 15¡c[134]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer or following autumn. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.
Prefers a well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade[134, 238]. Avoids acid soils in the wild but tolerates a pH down to 5 in cultivation[200]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10¡c[200]. This species is widely grown in herb gardens, but little employed because of its strong flavour[238]. Its essential oil is used to adulterate the oil of white horehound (Marrubium vulgare)[238]. The leaves emit a most unpleasant smell when bruised, somewhat like stale perspiration[245]. Plants can self-sow freely when well-sited[238]. There is at least one named variety selected for its ornamental value[238]. The whole plant has an offensive odour[4].
Most of Europe, including Britain, south and east from Scandanavia to N. Africa and E. Mediterranean

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.