Hyssop - Hyssopus officinalis


Hyssopus officinalis

The expectorant, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory qualities of hyssop are well documented. It has been used to treat respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis, and coughs.

  • Plant Family: Lamiaceae
  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Common hyssop
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Flowers, Leaves and Stems
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About Hyssop

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is an herbaceous perennial, native to Southern Europe and the Middle East but is now cultivated in various regions around the world. Hyssop is recognized for its alluring look, enticing fragrance, and a variety of therapeutic and culinary applications.

Hyssop is a little plant that generally reaches a height of 12-15 inches. It has woody stems with lance-shaped, dark green leaves that are slightly hairy. Small, tubular flower clusters that bloom in blue, purple, pink, or white hues are produced by the plant. Hyssop is well renowned for its alluring look, enticing fragrance, and a variety of therapeutic and culinary applications.

The use of hyssop in conventional medicine is quite old. It has a variety of bioactive substances, including tannins, flavonoids, and essential oils, which support its therapeutic effects. The expectorant, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory qualities of hyssop are well documented. It has been used to treat respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. The expectorant qualities of the plant aid in clearing congestion and make it easier to expel mucus from the respiratory tract. Hyssop has also been used to calm digestive problems and lessen indigestion and bloating sensations.

Hyssop is prized in culinary applications for its aromatic flavor, which is described as a blend of mint, camphor, and citrus. To improve the flavor of various dishes, the plant's leaves are used as a culinary herb. They can be used dried or fresh and added to sauces, salad dressings, stews, and soups. Hyssop leaves also add flavor and a fragrant aroma to teas and herbal infusions, giving them a revitalizing flavor.


Hyssop seeds are best sown outdoors in the spring, after the last date of frost, when the earth has warmed up. For earlier establishment in colder locations, start seeds within 6 to 8 weeks before the final date of frost. Once the risk of frost has passed, transplant the seedlings outside.

Hyssop can also be propagated using stem cuttings in early summer. Take 4- to 6-inch cuttings from healthy, non-flowering stems. Cut off the lowest leaves, then plant the cuttings in potting soil or well-draining soil. 

Regardless of the method used, hyssop requires well-drained soil and sunny location to thrive.

Hyssop seeds take 1 to 3 weeks to germinate after which their seedlings appear from the ground. They need sufficient sunlight and routine watering at this stage to sustain their growth, and must be shielded from freezing cold and severe temperatures.

The seedlings develop a robust root system as they get older and begin to make leaves on an upright stem. The plant concentrates on leaf development and general vegetative growth during this stage. 

In its second year of growth, hyssop plants typically reach maturity and begin to produce flowers. Typically, the flowering season occurs in the summer. Hyssop has tiny, tubular flowers that are available in a range of hues, including blue, purple, pink, and white. The plant's reproductive cycle is aided by the pollinators that the flowers draw, such as bees and butterflies.

After pollination, the flowers transform into seed pods, containing seeds. Being a perennial plant, it can survive for several years with proper care and upkeep, giving a consistent supply of fragrant leaves and vivid flowers.


It is advised to collect the leaves right before the plant blooms for the best flavor and scent. The flowers can be harvested when they are in full bloom and have vibrant colors. Like the leaves, the flowers contain essential oils and add an aromatic touch to herbal preparations or as a decorative element.

For seed pods, wait until the blossoms have faded and seed pods have formed before gathering hyssop seeds for planting or culinary use. As the seed pods mature, they will turn brown and dry.

  • Leaves: Simply snip off the leaves with sharp pruning shears.
  • Flowers: Trim the flowers just above a pair of healthy leaves for optimal flavor and aroma.
  • Seeds: Remove the plant's seed heads and let them dry further indoors. To release the tiny seeds, carefully break the seed pods once they have dried completely.

After harvesting Hyssop leaves and flowers, gently pat them dry with paper towels and tie their stems together with a string, hanging them upside down in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Once they have fully dried, gently strip the leaves and flowers, discarding any discolored or damaged parts during the process. Store them in a clean, airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry place. 


  • Tincture: Dried and chopped hyssop leaves and flowers are submerged in high-proof alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks and then strained using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to obtain a saturated tincture in a clean glass bottle. 
  • Tea: Dried hyssop leaves and flowers are steeped in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes to enjoy a cup of hyssop tea.
  • Decoction: Boil a cup of Hyssop leaves and flowers in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes and strain it to achieve all-natural and healthy Hyssop decoction.
  • Salve: Hyssop-infused oil is stirred in melted beeswax pellets to formulate a smooth salve.
  • Syrup: Dried Hyssop leaves and flowers can be rolled in sugar solution for 10-15 minutes on low flame to formulate a syrup.
  • Infused Oil: Combine dried hyssop and carrier oil (olive oil or carrier oil) in a double boiler and heat it on low flame for an hour or 2 and strain in a glass bottle for later use.