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Other Names:

Ballota, Ballota nigra, Ballote Fétide, Ballote Noire, Ballote Puante, Ballote Vulgaire, Black Stinking Horehound, Marrube Fétide, Marrube Noir, Marrubio Negro.

BLACK HOREHOUND Overview Information

Black horehound is a plant. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

People take black horehound for treating nausea, vomiting, spasms, cough, and whooping cough. They also take it for relieving symptoms of nervous disorders, especially mild sleep problems. Black horehound is also used for increasing bile flow.

Some people apply black horehound to the skin as a mild drying agent (astringent) and as a treatment for gout.

Rectally, black horehound is used as an enema against intestinal worms.

Don’t confuse black horehound with white horehound.

How does it work?

Black horehound has chemicals that might have a variety of functions, such as helping to stop nausea, vomiting, spasms, and other effects.

BLACK HOREHOUND Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nervous disorders.
  • Whooping cough.
  • Spasms.
  • Increasing bile flow.
  • Gout, when applied to the skin.
  • Intestinal worms, when used rectally as an enema.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of black horehound for these uses.

BLACK HOREHOUND Side Effects & Safety

Black horehound is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth, but the potential side effects of black horehound are not known.

There isn’t enough information to know if black horehound is safe when applied directly to the skin or used rectally.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s LIKELY UNSAFE to take black horehound by mouth if you are pregnant. Black horehound may affect the menstrual cycle, and this could threaten the pregnancy. It’s also best to avoid putting black horehound on the skin or using it rectally during pregnancy, since safety of these uses is unknown.

If you are breast-feeding, don’t use black horehound either. The possible effects on the nursing infant are unknown.

Parkinson’s disease: Black horehound contains chemicals that affect the brain. There is some concern that black horehound might affect treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders: Black horehound contains chemicals that affect the brain. There is some concern that black horehound might harm people with schizophrenia and psychotic disorders.

BLACK HOREHOUND Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications used for Parkinson's Disease (Dopamine agonists) interacts with BLACK HOREHOUND

    Black horehound contains chemicals that affect the brain. These chemicals affect the brain similarly to some medications used for Parkinson's disease. Taking black horehound with these medications might increase the effects and side effects of some medications used for Parkinson's disease.
    Some medications used for Parkinson's disease include bromocriptine (Parlodel), levodopa (Dopar, component of Sinemet), pramipexole (Mirapex), ropinirole (Requip), and others.


The appropriate dose of black horehound depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for black horehound. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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