Hyssop

 

 

Hyssop

Family:    Labiatae, or Mint
Genus:     Hyssopus
Species:   officinalis

 

Synonyms and Common names:    None found

Description and Habitat:
Hyssop is a semi-evergreen, shrubby perennial native to Southern Europe, The Middle East, and the Mediterranean region, and, through cultivation,  has also become a herb of Northern Europe. It is a member of the mint family with characteristic flowers and stems and is very aromatic as many members of its family tend to be.

Hyssop likes a sunny site with well-drained soil and does not tolerate too much rain. Other than that, hyssop is not a picky plant and is quite easy to grow. This is a low maintenance plant, ideal for cottage gardens and nature gardens, as many pollinating insects are drawn to it.

Hyssop can be grown from cuttings, division or from seed. The seed germinates quite quickly. Hyssop can be successfully grown in large containers, or in the garden.

Hyssop is a tall plant with an upright, somewhat untidy habit, with impressive flowers that are usually blue or purple. If the flowers that bloom in summer are cropped, a second crop will flower in autumn.  After its final fall flowering, feel free to cut it back severely. It will return next spring.

Bees, love hyssop and it adds a nice flavour to honey if grown near a hive.  As it has a long flowering season, it is a good plant to grow near fruit trees to bring the pollinators in.

Parts used:   Dried aerial parts and essential oil.

Collection and preparation:   Collect the flowering tops in late summer, dry them in an Anti-spasmodic, expectorant, diaphoretic, sedative, carminative, anti-catarrhal, aromatic, hepatic, pectoral, tonic, and vulnerary.

Indications and Therapeutics:
Hyssop has an interesting range of uses, which are largely attributable to the anti-spasmodic actions of the volatile oil.

It is used in coughs, bronchitis, and chronic catarrh.

Its diaphoretic properties explain its use in the common cold, and influenza.

As a nervine, it may be used in anxiety states, hysteria, and petit mal, which is a form of epilepsy.

Extracts of the herb have demonstrated antiviral activities, particularly against the Herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores. Externally, Hyssop can be used to treat burns and bruises.

Contraindications:
Excessive doses of Hyssop herb can affect the brain centres and can cause nervous disorders and trembling.  The essential oil contains the ketone Pino-camphene, which in high doses can cause convulsions, and so should only be used externally.

Preparation and dosage:
Infusion:  Put 1-2 teaspoonsful of dried Hyssop herb into a teapot and cover with boiling water (around 1-2 cupfuls), and let it infuse for 10 to 15 minutes.  Drink 3 times daily.

Tincture:  Take 1-3 ml of Tincture of Hyssop 3 times daily.

 

Additional comments and Folklore:
I can find no folk names for Hyssop.   Even though the herb was mentioned in the bible, Hyssop seems to have been mixed up with a number of other herbs such as Oregano.  The name Hyssop comes from the Greek language, although there are still no folklore names to be found.  I find this particularly weird.   It is mentioned here in Britain as being part of the knot gardens of Elizabeth I.  Just the time when the Folklore names of herb especially, were often used.


Hyssop is said to be used in spells of purification and protection.   To achieve this it seems to be a branch of Hyssop which would be used to sprinkle water, either on the person or the place.

Hyssop was carried, or worn to protect from negativity, and was added to protective charms for this purpose.  These uses seem to come from writings in the bible, which possibly came from the area of The Middle East.

Hyssop has been associated with dragons and fire, and it is said that burning it is said toll assist your interactions with them.