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Ballota nigra

Ballota nigra (Labiatae)

BLACK HOREHOUND, HOARHOUND

Vile-smelling, the flowering tops are given by herbalists to suppress nausea and vomiting due to travel sickness and pregnancy, and for nervous indigestion.

So foul smelling that cattle will not eat it, horehound derives its generic name from the Greek for reject. Culpeper linked horehound with the planet Mercury and recommended it be eaten with salt to "cure the bites of mad dogs". A native of temperate eastern Europe, it thrives in roadside ditches, hedgerows, and other moist places. It has square hairy stems, creeping roots, heart-shaped, scallop-edged leaves, and small purple flowers from late summer.

PARTS USED

Flowering tops.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Flavonoids.

 

ACTIONS

Sedative; suppresses nausea and vomiting; reduces muscle tension and spasm.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Given for nausea and vomiting, especially travel sickness and in pregnancy. It is also used for nervous dyspepsia (indigestion).

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion, tincture.

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