Hyssop refers to a tall growing, flowery semi-evergreen and herbaceous shrub that is native in both central and southern Europe. Historically, this kind of herb was used by lepers for cleansing prior to being allowed to be visited by relatives who did not suffer from leprosy.
Even back in the day, everybody was aware of the cleansing capabilities of hyssop herbs.
In more recent times, studies have revealed that its leaves are capable of growing the same mould that makes it possible to produce penicillin, which makes it useful as an antibiotic.
The History of Hyssop Herbs and References
The name itself is generally traced back, nearly unchanged, to the Hebrew and the Greek, the former translating to “Ezov” and the latter translating to “Hyssopos”.
It was recorded in the Book of Exodus that, on the night of Passover, hyssop would be used to apply the blood of those sacrificed onto doorposts.
Its purgative properties were also given a mention with in the Book of Psalms. Just before his death, Jesus of Nazareth on the cross was offered a sponge soaked in either vinegar or sour wine, with the sponge stuck onto a hyssop branch. Both Mark and Matthew made mentions to this occurrence, though references to the plant were only made in the general sense, which is typically translated into “stick” or “reed.”
Growing and Typical Medical Usage
Typically, hyssop seeds are sown in the springtime and are planted with about 40 – 50 cm in between each seedling. Alternatively, it is possible to propagate them using root division or from cuttings either in autumn or in spring. This herb is grown on well drained soil underneath a full sun, and it always benefits from clipping on occasion. Hyssop does not live for very long, unlike other plants. Hyssop is legal within the United States.
The hyssop herb is generally used to treat the symptoms of cardiovascular disorders. Because it is both a sedative and a stimulant, one of its uses may be to regulate a person’s blood pressure, whether it is too high or too low. Hyssop leaves can also be infused in order to suppress coughs, improve digestion and even relieve congestion in the intestines.
Different Medical Uses
Throughout time, hyssop has been prescribed by doctors for a wealth of different medical conditions. Other than as a sedative and a stimulant, hyssop has traditionally been used as an expectorant, an antispasmodic, an emmenagogue (which stimulates menustruation), a carminative (which aids digestion), a peripheral vasodilator, an anticatarrhal, an anti-inflammatory, a tonic and a sweat inducer.
However, hyssop is primarily used to treat chronic catarrh, bronchitis and coughs, as well as for the tonic effects it produces when used to treat the urinary, digestive, bronchial and nervous systems. Additionally, to treat tinnitus and inflammation, doctors regularly use hot hyssop decoction vapors.
Usages Other Than Medical
Outside of medical benefits, hyssop has been known to benefit the garden; for instance, it has been shown to be a good companion when trying to grow cabbage because it lures away the troubling Cabbage White butterfly. When planted along the rows of grapevines, it also improves the yield thereof, especially when the soil is more difficult to work with than it should be. It is also possible to plant hyssop in wild gardens because it attracts butterflies, hoverflies and bees, encouraging pollination without having to undergo unnatural methods.
To preserve hyssop leaves, one may consider drying the leaves, and they generally should be dried quickly and outside of sunlight. When harvesting, it should be a dry day while they have the highest concentration of their active ingredients and have reached the ultimate peak of their maturity. All of these procedures are necessary to ensure that no oxidation occurs of any of the chemicals and that all of the aromatic ingredients are preserved.
Drying hyssop leaves requires a good circulation of air, such as a sunny room or an airing cupboard with the door still wide open. Six days are required to completely dry the leaves, which is the maximum they can withstand before losing their flavor and experiencing discoloration. For storage, they should be kept in dry, clean, airtight, labeled containers, where they will be good for up to a year and a half.
Typical Healing Uses
As previously mentioned, hyssop is quite often used for medical relief and medical purposes. It can be used in a number of different ways:
- Internal Usage
- The flowery part can be used to suppress coughs and the plant as a whole can be used to treat bronchitis, closed congested chest, fevers, upper respiratory tract infections and colds; it is especially beneficial to use in children in this way. However, excessive usage should be avoided because hyssop is a convulsant, meaning it may cause seizures.
- Additionally, internal use of hyssop can lead to benefits with regards to digestion and to easing both colic and flatulence.
- External Usage
- The flowery part comes in handy again when cuts and bruises occur.
- To relieve chest complaints and bronchial infections, one may employ the usage of its essential oil. Alternatively, exhaustion may be treated by adding its essential oil, which can be made using a special method described in the section below, to bathwater.
- Aromatherapy and Use of Essential Oils
- Using its essential oil tones the digestive system and allows a physical wound to heal without it scarring in place.
- Using its oils will create a sense of clarity and alertness, effectively easing any emotional pain, all while retaining a unique affinity to the respiratory system, as well as effectively raising low blood pressure.
- It has several different properties attached to its being, including astringent, antiseptic, digestive, cicatrisant, antispasmodic, febrifuge, expectorant, emmenagogue, carminative, hypertensive, sudorific, nervine, vermifuge, in addition to vulnerary.
Preparing Hyssop Essential Oils
The volatile oil that is found in hyssop can be used to relieve both stress and tension. In a similar vein to the way all essential oils work, all that is necessary is to extract the hyssop oil and include a few drops to a carrier oil.
To extract the oils of a hyssop plant, one must rise in the early morning and gather plenty of flowers and leaves from mature hyssop herbs. Thoroughly rinse them, completely dry them and then chop them up into pieces. Lightly crush these pieces to allow the oils to slowly come out of the herb.
When the essential oil has been made, it can be applied to any aching area. It can be massaged into aching feet, particularly the soles, or onto the area that aches when one may suffer from gallstones. The essential oils can help with eczema, circulatory problems, hay fever and viral infections.
Other Uses & Preparation
Additionally, those who have undergone face lifts might use a few drops of extracted hyssop oil, transferred onto a cold compress, in order to clear bruises on the facial skin.
A few other methods include taking ten drops of the extracted essential hyssop oil and combining it with 2 ml of either sunflower oil or almond oil and applying it to the chest to relieve colds and bronchitis.
Eucalyptus or thyme might be included for added benefits. Finally, those who are nervously exhausted or simply under the weather can drop five to ten drops of the essential hyssop oil into the bathwater.
Preparing Tea With Hyssop Included and Other Pain Relieving Uses
Hyssop is regularly employed to treat laryngitis, sore throats and lung inflammation, making it an essential tool to those who are required to employ their voice for their jobs, such as public speakers, lecturers or singers.
This is also because it has the ability to soothe a tired set of vocal cords. When used in this purpose, a tea is one way that hyssop may be used for treatment.
To make a tea, make a combination of 500 ml of hot, boiling water and include about two tablespoons of fresh hyssop herb leaves, letting the two stand and mix for about half an hour. If necessary, the tea can be reheated so that the tea retains its warmth.
Alternatively, rather than for treating a tired set of vocal chords, it is possible to use the tea in order to alleviate any bruises. Simply take a cotton ball and dab it into the tea, applying the liquid onto the bruising until the swelling and discoloration have ceased and subsided.
Treating a Black Eye
Hyssop can treat a black eye when it is placed into a muslin bag and dipped into boiling water to soak for about sixty seconds. After it cools to a point where one can easily touch the bag and deal with the temperature, it should then be applied to the black eye, reheating and cooling as necessary, continually applying until the bruising and the swelling both diminish.
For a quick toothache remedy, it is possible to boil two teaspoons of hyssop leaves into half a cup of vinegar, which should only take about five minutes when simmer. The mixture is strained and swilled around in the affected mouth, ending with spitting out the mixture.
Active Ingredients and Why Hyssop Works
The volatile oil found in hyssop contains a few different ingredients, including boryl acetate, thujione, camphor, linalool, isopinocamphone, as well as a-terpinene. The volatile oil found in hyssop, as well as its ingredients are founded to alleviate indigestion, have a purgative action and to soothe the colon, and it also contains different flavonoids, such as diosmin and hesperidin, which are known to aid in health.
Recommended Dosages and Safety Precautions
There has never been any officially proven effective or safe dosage for using hyssop in adults. However, it is known that adults have been tested to remain safe after employing about two grams of the dried herb while infused in hot, boiling water for three times a day.
However, avoid using extracted hyssop oil for too long – adults are recommended to have ten to thirty drops or less per day – because it is a known convulsant, meaning that there is a slight risk of seizures occurring.
This risk of seizures is the same reason why children should avoid taking hyssop excessively, if at all. It also goes without saying that those who are suffering epilepsy. Additionally, diabetics should refrain from taking the hyssop herb internally; they may still use it externally, aromatically or use the essential oils.
There are several complementary techniques that are regularly employed by professionals in healthcare who have had formal training in accordance with any and all standards that are required of their national organizations. However, this is neither always nor universally the situation, meaning that adverse effects may occur. Because there may be limited research, there may be instances of only limited information for safety available.
Those who are known to have either an allergy or a hypersensitivity to hyssop, any related plants within the Lamiaceae family or any of the constituents found in hyssop should refrain from ever using hyssop, either internally or externally, aromatically or from using any of its extracted essential oils.
Side Effects and Warnings
Instances of seizures and vomiting have been known to occur and have previously been reported, especially when hyssop is taken at high dosages. Convulsions are known to occur because of the ketone pino-camphone that is present in the essential oil. For this reason, it is highly recommended to avoid using hyssop in any way in patients who have epilepsy or pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Due to a lack of scientific evidence currently available in research, women who are either pregnant or breastfeeding should not take hyssop unless absolutely necessary.
Known and Possible Drug Interactions
Because hyssop is thought to lower the threshold of seizures, it may theoretically interact with antiepileptic medicines. It may interact additively when taking an anti-hyperglycemic drug for altering blood sugar. For this reason, those with diabetes or hypoglycemia are advised to proceed with caution and in any others who may be taking supplements, drugs or herbs in order to affect their blood sugar.
A qualified professional in healthcare may also monitor the serum glucose levels and adjust the medication as necessary. A pharmacist may also perform this task.
Ursolic acid and oleanolic acid, which are constituents of the hyssop herb, are known to contain recognized cholesterol lowering, or anti-hyperlipidemic, properties, meaning that they may additively interact with other drugs for anti-hyperlipidemia.
Other Serious Interactions
Early studies that tested various usages of crude extracts produced from hyssop have shown that there was antiviral activity against both HIV-1 and herpes simplex. One may then conclude that hyssop, theoretically, may additively interaction with other antiviral medications.
Hyssop is found in a decoction of qingre huoxue, leading scientists to believe is may additively interact with glucocorticoids. Hyssop is thought to possess activity with regards to immunomodulatory activity, proposing the thought that it may additively interact with immunosuppressant medicines.
Hyssop may be found in local garden shops or online. Discounts may be found when buying in bulk, but remember not to purchase more than is necessary to use in a few weeks when keeping alive or for a year and a half when keeping dry. The average price is about $4 to $5 per pound.