Prescribed by Hippocrates for pleurisy, hyssop, together with rue, was recommended by Dioscorides for asthma and catarrh. Its name derives from the Greek word ‘azoh’, or holy herb, although the ‘hyssop’ in the Bible seems more likely to have been a local variety of marjoram.  
Hyssop has been hung in homes to provide protection from the evil eye, and from witches. It has also been planted frequently on graves as protection for the dead from the living.
Hyssop is one of the more important of the 130 herbs flavouring the liqueur Chartreuse.

Latin Binomial: Hyssopus officinalis 

Common Name: Hyssop
Part Used: Fresh and dried aerial parts, harvested during flowering in summer. Essential oil is also used.

Qualities: Bitter, pungent, dry, slightly warming (Ody)

Active Constituents: 

    • Volatile oil (up to 1%)
    • Flavonoids
    • Tannins
    • Bitter substance – Marrubin
  • Diosmin

“The brethe or vapor of hyssop driveth away the winde that is in the ears if they be holden over it” –William Turner, 1562


    • Expectorant
    • Carminative
    • Relaxes peripheral blood vessels
    • Diaphoretic
    • Anti-catarrhal
    • Topical Anti-Inflammatory
    • Anti-viral -(herpes simplex)
    • Anti-spasmodic
  • Nervine – Sedative (Hoffman)


  • Bronchitis
  • Chesty Colds
  • Asthma
  • Soothing griping pains
  • Flatulence
  • Promote sweating in chills and influenza
  • Digestive upsets and nervous stomach


Anti-spasmodic properties of volatile oil indicate use in coughs, bronchitis & chronic catarrh.

Diaphoretic properties make it ideal in treatment of common cold.

Hoffman indicates potential use in petite mal, anxiety states and hysteria.

Contraindications: None known

Caution: Essential oil contains the ketone pino-camphone which, in high doses- can cause convulsions. Stick to recommended dose


1:1  2.0 to 4.0 mL per day

1:1  42 to 84 mL per week

INFUSION: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink three times per day.

TINCTURE: 1-4 ml three times a day (Hoffman)


  • Traditionally combined with fresh figs for constipation
  • Combine with liquorice, elecampane and anise for bronchitis and stubborn coughs
  • Combine in syrup with liquorice or mullein flowers for stubborn coughs and lung weakness
  • COUGHS & BRONCHITIS: White Horehound and Coltsfoot
  • COMMON COLD: Boneset, Elder Flower & Peppermint


  • ESSENTIAL OIL CHEST RUB: Dilute 10 drops of hyssop oil in 20ml almond oil for bronchitis and chesty colds. Combines well with thyme and eucalyptus.
  • Add 5-10 drops to bath water for nervous exhaustion, melancholy or sorrows

References & Article Links:

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hyssop48.html – Modern Herbal- Hyssop

http://www.complete-herbal.com/details/hyssop.htm – Complete Herbal- Hyssop

Hoffman, D. Holistic Herbal pg.207

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