We have many customers asking for this oddly-named candy although most of them are “of a certain age”. They are recalling sweet memories from their childhood and of their grandfathers sharing their prized stash of Horehound with them. Today, this candy is mostly found in an old-fashioned candy shop such as ours, or perhaps in your local pharmacy, next to the cough drops, as it is known more as a medicinal remedy than as a sweet.
It’s scientific name (Maarrubium vulgare) should give you a hint that the normally lozenge-shaped, hard candy, may be difficult to swallow. It is often coated in sugar, or corn syrup, to both keep it from sticking to the liner of its cooling tray and to give it a more pleasant initial taste. But the true bitterness of the horehound, which is a weed in its original form, quickly comes to bear on your unsuspecting taste senses!
Horehound is a member of the mint family, and its taste may remind you of mint, or of licorice, or even of root beer. It is made from the hardening of a herbal tea that is brewed from the plant’s (weed’s) white-colored leaves. Long known to relieve certain respiratory problems (asthma, sore throat, dry throat), horehound is also associated with helping with some digestive issues, primarily as an appetite stimulant and for relieving gas. However, as good as it may be for some nagging medical ailments, it also has the reputation of interfering with the body’s ability to absorb iron and is therefore strongly not recommended to be consumed by pregnant women.