Is Horehound Safe During Pregnancy? Candy and More

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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You either love it, or you hate it! Horehound is a bitter-tasting plant that many enjoy in hard candies due to its reported substantial health benefits for coughs suppressants, sore throats, nausea, and more. However, can you safely consume horehound products during pregnancy? 

Overall, pregnant women should not consume horehound because it has not been deemed as safe, even in food amounts such as in the famous hard candies.

Let’s talk more about horehound and how it can impact you while you are pregnant, and why it might be a good idea to skip it in favor of other cold remedies. Read on!

Is Horehound Candy Safe for Pregnancy? 

Unfortunately, horehound candy — often used for nausea and other ailments — is not considered safe for pregnant women. This may be because of a lack of research on horehound consumption in pregnant women.

In addition, there are ethical implications of performing experimental studies on pregnant participants; therefore, many plants and medicinal herbs have not been proven safe for pregnancy. 

While the actual amount of horehound in the hard candies varies from recipe to recipe or brand to brand, it is best to steer clear of these bitter treats while you are pregnant. 

Also, horehound is considered a natural remedy that is not standardized and is not inspected or regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (source: Tufts Medical Center). 

horehound plant with healthy green leaves

Pregnant women often wonder about horehound for coughs, colds, nausea, and more. However, the safety of consuming horehound, especially in pregnant and lactating women, has not been established by evidence-based sources and scientific studies. 

Horehound candies often are high in sugar and corn syrup as well. For reference, a serving of 15 grams of horehound hard candies contains 13 grams of sugar (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA] Food Data Central).

The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar daily. Consuming a diet high in added sugars while you are pregnant can contribute to excessive weight gain and obesity. 

If you are looking for a way to naturally treat your pregnancy-related nausea and morning sickness, ginger is a great herb to help with nausea and can safely be used regularly.

Additionally, honey is a good option for helping with a cough or a scratchy or sore throat. Here is a reference to read more about the safety of consuming honey during your pregnancy

Other Horehound Products When Pregnant

Horehound can also appear in other products, such as steeped into teas, baked into cookies, and more. Unfortunately, there still is insufficient evidence to support the safety of horehound in any form during pregnancy.

Additionally, there have been no studies that have even proven the efficacy of horehound for the ailments it is meant to treat (source: Tufts Medical Center). 

It is best avoided for the time being and sticking with safer tea alternatives such as peppermint tea or ginger tea

In conclusion, I hope you found this article a helpful resource in unpacking the information behind if horehound is safe to consume during your pregnancy. It’s more due to a lack of information, rather than it being actively dangerous, so it’s best to wait until baby is born before taking it.