At Blessed Maine Herb Farm there is a long hedge of hyssop running through the center of our herb garden. By mid-July it is a mass of purple flowering spikes and the aroma is unbelievable! Hyssop is a favorite herb and one of my dearest allies. Hyssop's rugged energy energy makes it one of the most important herbs for our rapidly changing times.
Hyssop has ancient origins. Its genus name is derived from the Greek azob, which means holy herb. It is written in the Bible: "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean."
Add a quart of hyssop infusion to your fine linens' rinse water and they will come out especially white. During ceremony, I burn dried hyssop to clear and shift the energy. The flowering stems form a fine holy-water sprinkler.
Wise, wild-hearted herbalists have long used hyssop as a nourishing medicinal tea for those dealing with any type of pulmonary distress, lung or sinus congestion. It contains several camphor-like constituents that help loosen phlegm, and the expectorant, marrubium. A syrup made from flowering tops of hyssop is especially soothing and healing to sore throats.
American Indians drank an infusion made from hyssop leaves and flowers to relieve asthma. Cherokee used hyssop to treat those with coughs and colds, to bring down fever, and to bring on, establish, and regulate menstruation.
Grandmothers also used hyssop as a stomach tonic, an aid to digestion, and to alleviate gas. After meals, slowly sipping a cup of hyssop infusion, or a glass of water with 20 drops of fresh plant tincture, offers relief for digestive woes.
A standard dose is 2-4 cups of dried hyssop infusion daily, or 20 drops of fresh plant tincture two to four times daily.
Hyssop is a blood nourisher. Hyssop strengthens the immune system and has very strong antiviral properties, even against herpes and HIV. Old wives used it as a soak to relieve the pain of rheumatism.
Hyssop helps calm, steady, and relax the nerves. Its effect is that of a mild sedative as well as a nerve-strengthening tonic. I use it to relieve tension and help balance emotional swings.
The leaves, flowers, and stems of hyssop all possess an essential oil that has a powerful effect on the mind, clearing it of confusion and imparting a feeling of alertness. I also like to anoint head, heart, hands, and feet with hyssop oil. Hyssop essential oil is also used in making the liqueur chartreuse, and is one of the hundreds of additives in cigarettes.
Hyssop's deep spiritual resonance offers nourishment and protection. I hang a bunch in our home for the beneficial effect and great smell!
Hyssop is most magical when gathered during a new moon. To make a ritual broom for healings cut a handle from willow or birch, and tie on a vunch of hyssop with pretty ribbon.
Hyssop is very easy to grow in any ordinary garden soil. We start new plants inside in early spring and set them our in small clumps when they are sturdy enough to be handled. I keep hyssop plants well weeded the first year; by the second year they are large enough to completely shade out the weeds: a beautiful, thick, green and purple hedge, two to three feet high, bursting with incredible healing energy and an abundance of honeybees.
Eating hyssop is a great way to make use of its nourishing and medicinal qualities. We chop a few sprigs of hyssop into salads all summer and use it as a spice, fresh or dried, on other dishes. A student of mine, Jane, once made the most incredible pesto, substituting hyssop for basil. Hildegard of Bingen calls hyssop a "happy making spice" and advises "if one eats hyssop often, one cleans the sick-makers and stinkiness out of the foamy juices." She recommended cooking hyssop with chicken, and drinking it in wine, believing both combinations to activate and tone the liver.
I harvest hyssop's beautiful bluish-purple flowering tips, including leaves and stems, at the peak of their bloom and hang them in bunches to dry, then store them whole in double paper bags for later use as infusions or washes. I also tincture lots of fresh hyssop in alcohol, put up some in vinegar, infuse it in honey (excellent for sore throat), and put some in oil.
Open your wild heart to humble, rugged, ageless hyssop to improve strength, stamina,energy, attitude, and outlook.
You'll find hyssop here as a simple extract and as an ingredient in our Breathe Deep Herb Tea, our Antibiotic Spray and in our Decongestant Formula.