Hyssop

Hyssopus officinalis, Labiatae. The dried aerial parts of the plant are used.

The flowering tops of hyssop should be gathered in late summer and dried in the sun.

Functions of hyssop

Hyssop has an interesting range of uses that are mainly associated with its anti-spasmodic actions. Hyssop:

  • can be used in coughs, bronchitis, and chronic catarrh. It is useful as a hot infusion in the early stages of colds and influenza. The infused oil can also be rubbed on the chest for a chesty cough. Hyssop can also be combined with eucalyptus or thyme oil or both.
  • can be used in anxiety and stress states and it has been used in the treatment of hysteria and petit mal (a from of epilepsy - but be careful of strong infusions).
  • as an infusion of the flowers or leaves or both has uplifting and stimulating properties.
  • as an infusion of the flowers or leaves or both can be used to ease digestive pain and lessen flatulence.

Notes on hyssop

  • Be careful of strong infusions or infused oils as strong doses may trigger fits.
  • It may be combined with white horehound and coltsfoot in the treatment of coughs and bronchitis.
  • For the treatment of colds it may be mixed with boneset, elderflower and peppermint.

Dosages

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonsful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day.

Tincture: take 1-4 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

New plants can be grown from seeds or cutting in the spring or by dividing the roots in autumn.

The flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. Hyssop makes a useful low hedge plant.

It prefers a well drained soil in an open position with plenty of sunlight. Older plants will sometimes die back in the winter and will need to be pruned in autumn, after flowering.

References

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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