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Hyssop as an Herb

Hyssop as an herb

Hyssopus officinalis

Hyssop was mentioned in the Bible, but its history as a healing secret goes back even further.

Hyssop is a name of Greek origin. The Hyssopos of Dioscorides was named from azob (a holy herb), because it was used for cleaning sacred places. It is alluded to in the Scriptures: 'Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean.'

Hyssop is cultivated for the use of its flower-tops, which are steeped in water to make an infusion, which is sometimes employed as an expectorant.

Hyssop plant

The healing virtues of the Hyssop plant are due to a particular volatile oil, which is stimulative, carminative and sudorific. Hyssop is often used in treating lung ailments.

The Great King David used Hyssop when he prayed the prayer in Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit within me..."

Hyssop as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

The medicinal parts are the leaves, the flower tips and the essential oil. The plant has a weak sweetish smell. The taste is bitter.

Hyssop is usually given as a warm infusion, taken frequently and mixed with Horehound. Hyssop tea is also a helpful beverage, well adapted to improve the tone of a feeble stomach, being brewed with the green tops of the herb, which are sometimes boiled in soup to be given for asthma.

In America, an infusion of the leaves is used externally for the relief of muscular rheumatism, and also for bruises and discolored contusions, and the green herb, bruised and applied, will heal cuts promptly. The infusion has an agreeable flavor. A tea made with the fresh green tops, and drunk several times daily, is one of the old fashioned country remedies for rheumatism that is still used today. Hyssop baths have also been recommended as part of the cure, but the quantity used would need to be considerable.

The tea is used to soothe sore throats, both by drinking the tea and by gargling with it. An infusion made with 2 ounces hyssop to 1 pint water is used for the gargle. It has also been used to inhibit the growth of the herpes simplex virus.

Hyssop essential oil, diluted and applied to the scalp, kills lice and cures itchy scalp caused by eczema and dandruff.

Hyssop Cough Syrup

Soothes an irritated throat and has a pleasant licorice taste.

1 cup honey
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons dried flowering hyssop tops or 1/3 cup chopped, fresh hyssop flowers
1 teaspoon aniseed

Place the honey in a small heavy saucepan and add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until the mixture has the consistency of pancake syrup. Over medium heat, gradually bring the mixture to a boil, skimming off any scum that surfaces. Use 1 or 2 tablespoons water to moisten the dried hyssop, then crush the aniseed with a spoon. Add both ingredients to the honey and stir. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Uncover and let cool; while the mixture is still slightly warm, strain it into a jar with a screw-on lid. Let cool to room temperature and cover tightly. Will keep for one week.

Household Use

Hyssop is also said to repel moths, fleas, cabbage moths and white flies when used in moth repellent and flea repellent sachets.

Culinary Uses of Hyssop

Leaves and flowers are used for teas, salads, soups, lamb stew and poultry stuffing. Also used in soups. Fresh leaves are used in soft butters and cheeses.

The plant is easily grown and has been long been cultivated in the corners of country gardens for the making of tea and candy for use in coughs and colds.

The leaves are used in the manufacture of horehound teas and wines.


Hyssop is a widely used purification herb. Sprinkle an infusion of hyssop around your home or over your person to cleanse it of negative influences.


Isolated cases of tonic-clonic spasms have been observed among adults after intake of 10 to 30 drops of the volatile oil over a number of days (2 to 3 drops for children).

Do not use if pregnant or suffering from epilepsy.

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