Hyssop has been used for hundreds of years as an antiseptic agent. One of its most common uses is in the form of essential oil and as such is used both as a medicinal plant and as an aromatic herb. His name even appears in the Bible: “Purify me with the Hyssop, and I will be clean” (verse 7 psalm 51).
For thousands of years hyssop has been used as a purifier. The Romans used it as protection from the wounds giving rise to the custom of drying some twigs and hanging them in houses to ward off negativity and evil spirits. Also on the tombs of the dead were left branches of hyssop, for their benefit.
The hyssop plant and its components
Hyssop, scientific name Hyssopus officinalis, is a herbaceous plant native to southern Europe, the Middle East and the regions surrounding the Caspian Sea. Its name derives from the Hebrew “ezob” or sacred grass. It is a shrub whose height varies from 30 to 60 cm. It has a woody and solid stem that serves as a base from which straight branches grow. The leaves are dark green and the fragrant and colorful inflorescences. In the summer months the plant produces blue, pink and white flowers.
The stems are cut twice a year, in late spring and early autumn. Once cut, they are dried, a process that takes about a week.After which the leaves and flowers are finely reduced and the result can be stored correctly for up to 18 months. However, the plant is also used differently, creating an essential oil, an extract or food supplement capsules.
Hyssop is part of the mint family, so its flavor is lied and rather intense if added to your recipes, so it is always a good idea to dose the quantities carefully before using it.The main components of hyssop oil are monoterpenes (cis-pinocanfone, trans-pinocanfone and beta-pinene) and sesquiterpenes (germacrene and elemolo).
However the chemical composition varies according to the growth of the plant at the time of extraction.
The flavonoids present in hyssop oil have excellent antioxidant properties. According to an American analysis there are 20 components in hyssop oil, which represent 99.9% of its composition.
Among others, apigenin stands out as the major flavonoid present. Other important components found in hyssop oil are camphor, germacrene, spatulenol and mirtenil acetate.
The components discovered in hyssop oil therefore reveal that this plant possesses valid antioxidant properties.
8 benefits of the Isoppo officinale
Today hyssop is used in the treatment of intestinal and digestive disorders, including liver and gall bladder diseases and loss of appetite. It is also useful in treating respiratory tract problems: it eliminates coughing, helps prevent common colds and respiratory infections, relieves sore throat and is one of the natural treatments for asthma ( 1 ).
- Assists the cardiovascular system
An increase in circulation or blood flow in the body benefits the heart, muscles and arteries. Hyssop improves and promotes circulation thanks to its anti-rheumatic properties. By increasing circulation, hyssop is considered a natural remedy for gout, rheumatism, atritis and redness.
The heart rate decreases when the circulation works properly, so the heart muscle relaxes and the blood pressure flows evenly throughout the body, affecting the health of each organ.
Many are looking for a natural remedy for arthritis as it is a disabling condition. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, occurs when the cartilage between the joints wears out, causing inflammation and pain.
By increasing circulation, hyssop oil and tea inhibit redness and inflammation , allowing blood to circulate through the body and relieving high blood pressure caused by clogged arteries.
Thanks to its ability to improve circulation, hyssop oil is also a home remedy against hemorrhoids , which are caused by an increase in blood pressure in the veins of the anus and rectum. The pressure therefore causes redness, pain and bleeding.
- Useful against cough and asthma
Hyssop is an antispasmodic, which means that it relieves spasms of the respiratory system and soothes cough. It is also an expectorant, therefore it dissolves the accumulations of mucus that are deposited in the respiratory tract.
This property helps to heal from the most common infections like a simple cold or from the more delicate ones like bronchitis or asthma.
Cough is a common reaction of the organism that tries to eliminate dangerous microbes, dust or irritating agents from the body. The antispasmodic and antiseptic properties of hyssop make it an excellent natural treatment for all respiratory diseases.
Hyssop can also work as a remedy for sore throat and lung inflammation, making it an excellent natural remedy for all those people who use their voice even for work: teachers, singers, orators. The best way to benefit from the benefits of hyssop is to take it in the form of tea or by applying a few drops of essential oil on the chest and throat.
- Facilitates digestion
Hyssop oil is a stimulant, therefore it increases the production of secretions such as bile, digestive enzymes and acids. These gastric juices are necessary in order to disintegrate the food so that it can reach the stomach. The digestive enzymes we produce serve to speed up chemical reactions in the body and break down foods into nutrients. By facilitating digestion, hyssop oil helps break down complex proteins, carbohydrates and nutrients. Since the digestive system interacts with all other systems, including the nervous, endocrine and immune systems, the stimulating role played by hyssop is truly beneficial. It is also useful against the accumulation of intestinal gases and against the symptoms of indigestion.
- Relieves muscle pain and spasms
Almost everyone at some point in their lives has experienced muscle pain. Due to the fact that almost every part of the body has muscle tissue, this type of pain can be felt practically everywhere. An Italian study found that hyssop oil has muscle relaxant properties on the intestinal muscles of guinea pigs and rabbits.
Treatment with hyssop oil inhibited contractions and reduced the extent of spontaneous movements. The antispasmodic properties of the hyssop oil help to treat muscle pain, cramps and spasms in a completely natural way
Furthermore, hyssop oil helps the body to get rid of salt, liquids, sodium and other toxic substances in the body through urine. Being a natural diuretic, it therefore reduces inflammation, redness and rheumatic pain.
- Fights infections
Hyssop prevents the development of infections in wounds and cuts. Thanks to its antiseptic properties, when applied to open wounds, it kills bacteria and fights infection. It also supports the healing of deep wounds, scars, stings or insect bites and can also be considered a home remedy for acne.
Hyssop has antibiotic properties thanks to the plant’s volatile oils. Although the antibiotic properties are powerful, they show the best results on shallow or superficial wounds and fungal infections.
A German study tested the ability of hyssop to combat genital herpes by testing its plaque reduction. Genital herpes is a persistent and chronic infection that propagates silently and effectively as a sexually transmitted disease ( 2 ).
The study found that hyssop oil reduces plaque formation by over 90%, thus proving that this oil interacts with the herpes virus and behaves like any therapeutic treatment.
- Effective for eliminating pests
Hyssop has the ability to fight parasites, which are organisms that steal nutrients from other organisms. Some examples of parasites include tapeworms, fleas, hookworms and fasciola. Thanks to its vermifuge properties, hyssop oil expels parasites, especially from the intestine.
When a parasite continues to live in an organism it interrupts the absorption of nutrients and causes disease and weakness. If it then lives in the intestine it damages the digestive and immune system.
Therefore hyssop can really be the key to an antiparasitic therapy because it actually ensures that the nutrients the body needs are not subtracted from these dangerous infiltrates.
- Promotes skin health
Hyssop oil has the power to improve the appearance of scars and acts as a natural remedy for acne, boils, chicken pox, wounds and stretch marks.
It also promotes cell regeneration so the growth of new skin makes the old signs of time disappear. Apply a few drops of hyssop oil on the skin, helping you keep it younger and healthier.
- Supports the immune response
Hyssop improves circulation and digestion while killing bacteria and parasites. Each of these characteristics supports the immune system and therefore works properly.
By decreasing inflammation and allowing blood to circulate freely in all organs, hyssop oil keeps the functions of the whole body healthy.
A promising American study has discovered that the hyssop extract contains caffeic acid, unidentified tannins and a possible unknown third class of high molecular weight components that show strong anti-HIV activity, making them so interesting for the treatment of patients with AIDS .
The antiviral activity of the components of hyssop makes this plant essential for the treatment of life-threatening diseases.
Generally hyssop seeds are sown during the spring. When sowing, keep in mind that the distance between one plant and another must be about 40/50 cm to give them enough space to grow and feed.
Hyssop gives its best in well-drained and sunny soils and when it becomes too thick it must be pruned. It attracts bees, butterflies and sylphs that naturally encourage pollination.
If you are planning to harvest or cut leaves for drying, do it during a sunny day to ensure you get the highest concentration of active ingredients.
Leave the leaves to dry in the air in a sunny but ventilated place. It will take about a week before you can store the product in an airtight container.
Before drying the plant, you can also make your own essential oil.
Cut the leaves and flowers of a mature Hyssop plant. Do it early in the morning. Rinse everything and let it dry completely, then finely chop.
The oil will start to come out slowly from the crushed parts. All you need are a few drops of hyssop oil to mix with carrier oil before you can benefit from its incredible potential.
How to use hyssop
Hyssop is most commonly used to fight respiratory tract infections, chronic fatigue, muscle aches and arthritis. It is equally effective in capsules, essential oil, extract and tea.
Here are other common uses of hyssop:
- Treatment of the respiratory system (mucus, phlegm, cough etc): 2-3 drops of hyssop oil diluted in carrier oil to be applied and massaged on the chest and throat.
- Aromatherapy: spread or inhale 3-5 drops of essential oil
- Treatment of wounds and scars: dilute 2-3 drops of carrier oil (Jojoba or Coconut), 2-3 drops of essential oil of hyssop and apply to the skin twice a day.
- Treatment of skin irritations, burns, bruises and chilblains: dilute 2-3 drops of carrier oil (Jojoba or Coconut), 2-3 drops of essential oil of hyssop before applying to the skin.
- Stimulation of sweating and lowering of body temperature: 3-5 drops of essential oil in bath water.
- Fever treatment: massage 2 drops of hyssop oil diluted in a teaspoon of coconut oil on the feet.
- Fragrance: add a few drops of hyssop oil to soap, lotions and bubble bath.
- The plant is used by beekeepers in the production of a rich and aromatic honey.
- The inflorescences and the leaves are boiled for the preparation of an infusion or medicinal tea.
- For internal use: use only top quality hyssop oil, 100% pure. Add 1-2 drops of essential oil in the preparation of your smoothies / milkshakes.
- To improve circulation and repair damaged heart cells add 1-2 drops of hyssop essential oil to your wellness juices.
- Cuisine: fresh grass is often used in the kitchen although its flavor is intense. Stew it in soups and soups. The aroma is reminiscent of mint so add it little by little, depending on your liking, even to your salads.
- Hyssop is part of the official formulation of the Chartreuse, a French liqueur.
- To kill the bacteria in the oral cavity, mix 1-2 drops of hyssop oil with water and rinse.
Tea and herbal teas made from boiling leaves and hyssop flowers are an excellent solution to relieve respiratory infections, the most common colds and sore throats. They also help regulate the digestive system while supporting the immune system.
It is also possible to create compresses to buffer wounds, cuts and bruises to speed up the healing process and minimize blemishes of blackheads and scars.
Contraindications and precautions:
Hyssop is considered safe for most people in the amounts commonly found in foods and medicines.
It is not recommended for use during pregnancy as it could cause contractions of the uterus or abnormal menstrual cycles, conditions that could lead to an abortion.
It is also not clear if hyssop can be used during breastfeeding, so we advise you to avoid it. In any case, consult with your doctor. Do not administer hyssop in children: convulsions have been reported in children taking 2-3 drops of hyssop oil for several days.
If you have a clinical history of epileptic seizures, do not use hyssop as it may cause other attacks or worsen your condition. In any case, never exceed the maximum dose of 30 drops of essential oil per day. Recall that hyssop is a convulsant and therefore increases the risk of developing attacks.
It is also recognized that hyssop increases blood pressure, which could be beneficial for those suffering from low blood pressure, but dangerous for those who are trying to reduce it.