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Black horehound (Ballota nigra)

Black horehound (Ballota nigra) Image
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
alpha-Humulene, alpha-pinene, alpha-tocopherol, alyssonoside, angoroside A, arenarioside, ballonigrin, Ballota, Ballota antalyense, Ballota glandulosissima, Ballota larendana, Ballota macrodonta, Ballota nigra, Ballota nigra subsp. Anatolica, Ballota pseudodictamnus, Ballota rotundifolia, Ballota saxatilis, ballotenol, ballotetroside, ballotinone, beta-pinene, black stinking horehound, caffeoyl-L-malic acid, caffeoyl malic acid, caryophyllene, copaene, delta-cadinene, diterpene, forsythoside B, germacrene-D, lactoylate flavonoids, Lamiaceae (family), lavandulifolioside, linalool, lipid peroxidation, luteolin-7-glucosyl-lactate, luteolin-7-lactate, marrubiin, phenylpropanoid, phenylpropanoid glycosides, polyphenols, sabinene, superoxide anion formation, verbascoside.

Note: Black horehound should not be confused with white horehound (Marrubium vulgare L.) or water horehound (Lycopus americanus, also known as bugleweed).

Mechanism of Action


  • Constituents: (3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-2-ethyl[alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl-(1-->2)-alpha-L- rhamnopyranosyl-(1-->3)]-beta-D-apiofuranosyl-(1-->6)-4-O-caffeoyl-beta-D- glucopyranoside, alyssonoside 5, angoroside A 7, arenarioside, ballotetroside , caffeoyl-L-malic acid, forsythoside B, 13-hydroxyballonigrinolide , lavandulifolioside 6, luteolin-7-lactate, luteolin-7-glucosyl-lactate, phenylpropanoid glycosides, verbascoside.
  • Ballotetroside, a phenylpropanoid glycoside, has been isolated from the aerial parts of Ballota nigra.5 On the basis of chemical and spectral data, its structure has been established as (3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-2-ethyl[alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl-(1-->2)-alpha-L- rhamnopyranosyl-(1-->3)]-beta-D-apiofuranosyl-(1-->6)-4-O-caffeoyl-beta-D- glucopyranoside.
  • Antibacterial effects: Verbascoside, forsythoside B, and arenarioside isolated from Ballota nigra exhibited a moderate antimicrobial activity against Proteus mirabilis and Staphylococcus aureus including one methicillin-resistant strain.1
  • Antioxidant effects: The ethanol extract of Ballota nigra subsp. anatolica has anti-superoxide anion formation with an IC50 value between 0.50-0.87mg/mL.2
  • Cholesterol effects: Spectrophotometric studies showed that verbascoside, forsythoside B, arenarioside, ballotetroside, and caffeoyl-L-malic acid extracted from Ballota nigra are strong inhibitors of Cu(2+)-induced LDL oxidation, independent of any capacity to act as Cu(2+) chelators.4
  • Neurosedative effects: In a laboratory study using affinity tests with rat striata, entire brains, and receptor rich preparations, four of the five compounds extracted from Ballota nigra (verbascoside, forsythoside B, arenarioside, ballotetroside, and caffeoyl malic acid) were able to bind to benzodiazepine, dopaminergic, and morphinic receptors receptors.3 Inhibitory concentrations at 50% were determined and vary from 0.4-4.7mg/mL.


  • The ethanol extract of Ballota nigra subsp. anatolica has anti-superoxide anion formation with an IC50 value between 0.50-0.87mg/mL.2


  1. Didry, N., Seidel, V., Dubreuil, L., Tillequin, F., and Bailleul, F. Isolation and antibacterial activity of phenylpropanoid derivatives from Ballota nigra. J Ethnopharmacol 11-1-1999;67(2):197-202. 10619384
  2. Citoglu, G. S., Coban, T., Sever, B., and Iscan, M. Antioxidant properties of Ballota species growing in Turkey. J Ethnopharmacol 2004;92(2-3):275-280. 15138012
  3. Daels-Rakotoarison, D. A., Seidel, V., Gressier, B., Brunet, C., Tillequin, F., Bailleul, F., Luyckx, M., Dine, T., Cazin, M., and Cazin, J. C. Neurosedative and antioxidant activities of phenylpropanoids from ballota nigra. Arzneimittelforschung 2000;50(1):16-23. 10683711
  4. Seidel, V., Verholle, M., Malard, Y., Tillequin, F., Fruchart, J. C., Duriez, P., Bailleul, F., and Teissier, E. Phenylpropanoids from Ballota nigra L. inhibit in vitro LDL peroxidation. Phytother Res 2000;14(2):93-98. 10685104
  5. Seidel, V., Bailleul, F., Libot, F., and Tillequin, F. A phenylpropanoid glycoside from Ballota nigra. Phytochemistry 1997;44(4):691-693. 9041717

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