The herb commonly known as Horehound, marrubium vulgare, ( now you know where 'vulgar' came from) became one of the first herbs used in ancient times when there were signs of cold or sore throat. Horehound is a very bitter herb and was very repulsive to use as a tea which was the historical use of this herb.
The taste of Horehound made many decide to state " I would rather take my chances with the cold than drink that stuff". Well out of necessity comes innovation so here is the story of the popular and often used "horehound candy".
Originally water was boiled and the leaves of Horehound were steeped in the hot water until it was a tea. As mentioned previously the tea was so bitter that hardly anyone would drink it.
In ancient times sugar was a spice and few could afford it so not an option to sweeten the tea, unless someone were lucky enough to have robbed a honey bee hive. Soon the Gentry realized one way to pacify the peasant masses was to make sugar an affordable spice so the masses would have a spice to flavor the often poor selection of foods available to them.
Horehound tea benefited from the abundance of sugar and before long the peasantry were taking the extremely bitter tea and cooking it down in a sugar mixture. It did not take long though before the best way to administer the herb horehound was to make a candy stick and let the patient suck on it. The effect of diminishing coughs was a great benefit and the addition of the sugar made it desirable.
Now when you go to the drugstore and see the "horehound cough drops" you will know the origin of tea to medicinal candy.
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