Botanical: Hyssopus officinalis
Family: Labiatae/ Lamiaceae (mint)
Other common names: Issopo, Ysop
"Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow"
- Psalms 51:7
Used since Biblical times as a cathartic, Hyssop is still used to cleanse and detoxify the intestinal tract. When feeling overworked or stressed, try Hyssop to relieve anxiety, soothe the nerves and enhance mental clarity. It's also a time-honored herb that has been used to relieve many respiratory ailments.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Hyssop is an evergreen, bushy herb that grows to a height of two feet. Native to Southern Europe, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean region, it has been introduced into the warmer parts of the United States. Hyssop was mentioned in The Bible as a purifying herb, and the hyssopos of Dioscorides has been used almost continuously as a cathartic to cleanse the body. Its name is said to be derived from the Greek, azob, and Hebrew, ezob, meaning "holy herb," because it was used for cleaning and purifying temples and sacred places. The ancient Greek physicians, Hippocrates and Galen, recommended Hyssop for inflammations of the chest and throat, pleurisy and bronchitis; and although too pungent for modern tastes, Pliny wrote in the first century A.D., that the Romans enjoyed its flavor and made an herbal wine from it called hyssopites. Medieval monks spiced soups and sauces with it, and the Benedictine monks of the tenth century brought the herb into central Europe to flavor liqueurs (Benedictine and Chartreuse). Herbalists in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries prescribed Hyssop for bad coughs, and its strong camphor-like odor made it popular as a cleansing herb. In the seventeenth century, it was used as a "strewing herb" in sick rooms to add fragrance to the air and deter plague and infection. Strewn about the house, the highly aromatic herb not only improved the air, but it also kept away insects and vermin. So powerful is the scent of Hyssop that elderly women in Europe were said to press its flowers in their prayer books to keep themselves from falling asleep during church services. Mainly used to cleanse the system and for respiratory ailments, Hyssop began to fade from popularity, except as an ornamental shrub, but modern research now favors common Hyssop once again with the discovery that the mould from which penicillin is taken grows on Hyssop's leaves. The antibiotic protection could have been the reason lepers were bathed in Hyssop in ancient times. Some of Hyssop's constituents include essential oils (pinene, camphene, camphor, terpinene), tannin, flavonoid (hyssopin), glycoside (diosmin) and bitter lactones (marrubiin, ursolic acid) and choline.
Hyssop is considered a fine herbal expectorant and antispasmodic and has been highly effective in treating respiratory ailments, alleviating the heavy, congested feeling in the head and chest. As an herbal decongestant, it helps to reduce and get rid of phlegm, particularly with chronic congestion and unproductive coughs. It has been a time-honored remedy to ease asthma, bronchitis, coughs, chesty colds and stuffy nose. Hyssop also soothes mucous membranes in the respiratory system and eases hoarseness and sore throat.
As a cathartic and colon cleanser, Hyssop's laxative properties help to clear the body of toxins in the intestinal tract. At the same time, it soothes the mucous lining of the bowel, while clearing mucus from the intestines. Hyssop has also been used to expel worms.
Hyssop's diaphoretic actions further promote cleansing the body of toxins through the skin by promoting perspiration and sweating, which also helps to lower fevers. The herb is also thought to clear the bladder and kidneys.
As an antiviral, Hyssop combats herpes simplex virus and treats cold sores.
Hyssop is thought to strengthen the digestive system and tone the stomach while soothing its mucous lining. It eases indigestion, improves the appetite and relieves flatulence and "griping" (the sharp pains and grumbling of the bowels often associated with laxatives).
When used externally, Hyssop helps to kill body lice. Its topical anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial for muscular rheumatism and for healing bruises and cuts promptly, as well as easing the pain of insect stings and bites. Hyssop makes a fine gargle for sore throat.
Hyssop is a gently relaxing nerve tonic, suitable for nervous exhaustion when linked with overwork and anxiety or depression. It is thought to be helpful for easing feelings of grief and guilt and a tonic to strengthen the immune system and improve the body when in a weakened condition. The oil has been known to increase mental alertness.
Hyssop Herbal Supplement should not be taken for more than two weeks without advice of a physician. Excessive use (many times the recommended dosage) may cause seizures. Pregnant women, those who suffer from epilepsy or from high blood pressure should avoid Hyssop.