The name horehound is derived from "Horus", the Egyptian god of sky and light. Ancient herbalists prescribed it for fevers and malaria and as an antidote for snakebites, rabid dog bites and ingested poison. Horehound was traditionally carried in sachets as a protection against sorcery. When mixed with ash leaves and placed in a bowl of water, horehound is supposed to release healing vibrations and should be placed in a room with a sick person. When drunk as a tea, the herb will promote mental acumen and clarity.
A native of Europe, but now naturalized throughout North and South America, horehound is a hardy perennial of the mint family — with its telltale square stem — and, like most mints, can become invasive if not controlled. The herb can be started from seed or cuttings in the early spring. The seed should be sown just below the surface and cuttings should have about a one-foot spacing. Rings of small white flowers will appear from June to September in the second year of growth, but the leaves may be cut for use or drying in the first year.