Horehound is a garden mint with green and white leaves and a distinctively bitter taste. It is native to Asia and Europe, but is naturalized in North America. Although the herb grows in a wide range of climates, the best quality is grown in desert heat. Egyptian priests referred to it as the “Seed of Horus”, which some speculate its modern name came from. In medieval Europe it was used to ward off spells by witches. It is also recorded as one of the “bitter herbs” eaten at Passover.
Horehound isn’t good unless it tastes bad (or at least bitter). The bitter taste activates a reflex action that helps normalize breathing and digestion, and the beneficial effects of the herb are not realized if it is combined with too much sugar or other sweetener. Generally not recommended while pregnant. Also, if gathering in the wild, be sure not to confuse with black or stinking horehound, which can be toxic if taken in large doses.
In magick, Horehound has a long history of use in Egyptian magic, mainly to honor the god Horus (for who it was named). It is also a protective herb, used in protection sachets to protect against black magic. In ancient Europe covens at war would often use horehound as part of their magical protection rite. Being ruled by Air, this herb is also said to help clear the mind and help one think more clearly.
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