What is Hyssop?
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a lovely herb to plant in your garden if you have one. Many people grow hyssop purely for its beauty.
Hyssop has established itself in Northern Europe as well. In countries with colder climate the hyssop tends to be shorter.
Hyssop is a perennial with a woody stem.
It can grow to be about 60cm (2 ft.) tall. This herb has lovely clusters of double-lipped blue flowers. There are some varieties that are either white or pink.
The white variety is called “Albus” and the pink variety is called “Roseus”. White and pink hyssops are not that common.
This plant is a drought-tolerant and hardy perennial.
You can propagate hyssop from seeds sown in spring or you can grow it from cuttings.
Parts used: leaves and flowers. The leaves may be picked whenever you need them. The flowers are best just as they start to bloom. Hyssop can be used either fresh or dried.
Hyssop Benefits: Culinary Uses
The leaves can be added to fruit dishes. A few chopped leaves in fruit pies or fruit salads would be good usage. You can also add a few hyssop leaves to soups or a fresh salad.
Some insist on rubbing fatty meat with hyssop leaves before cooking. They claim that the meat will be easier to digest if it has been scrubbed with hyssop.
Another popular usage of hyssop leaves is to add a leaf or two as garnish in your drink.
The secret to using hyssop in cooking is not overdoing it. A little hyssop goes a long way. Only small amounts are needed. Hyssop has a slight bitter taste.
Hyssop is found as an ingredient in some spice mixes. If you enjoy herb butter, you may try to make some using chopped hyssop leaves.
The most common use of hyssop is as an herbal tea using the dried herb.
Hyssop is used to flavor liquors as Chartreus and Benedictine.
Hyssop Benefits – Health
The fresh leaves of the hyssop contain large amounts of Vitamin C.
This herb is great for the respiratory system.
It is used for colds, coughs, hay fever and asthma. Hyssop is expectorant and makes it easier to cough up tough mucus. It helps produce more liquid mucus.
The herb can be used during periods of stress as it is said to have calming effects on the nerves.
Hyssop assists in strengthening the immune system and is used to fight infections.
It works well on the digestive system and helps reduce colic and increases digestion.
Warning: Hyssop essential oil can induce epileptic seizures. Do not use hyssop essential oil unless you are under the professional supervision of a doctor.
Do not use hyssop if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before you consult with your doctor.
Hyssop Plant In History and Folklore
The healing properties of this herb have been known for centuries.
The Ancient Romans used it to fight plague.
The name originates from the Greek word “azob” which means “holy herb”.
It has traditionally been used to cleanse temples and churches.
During the Middle Ages hyssop was uses to clean rooms where sick people resided. Hyssop tea added to the water when cleaning does work.
This herb symbolizes purity and branches of hyssop were often used in blessing rituals. Hyssop in the Bible is used in the same context.
In folklore it was told that hyssop branches used as a broom would sweep all negative energy out of the home.
Hyssop has throughout history had an auspicious reputation. It has consistently been used to cleanse, purify and heal.