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 Hyssop :
Herbal Medicine Materia Medica
Hyssopus officinalis


Habitat: A common garden plant.

Part Used: Dried aerial parts.

Collection: The flowering tops of Hyssop should be collected in August and dried in the sun.


  • Terpenoids; including marrubiin, oleanolic and ursolicacids
  • Volatile oil, composed mainly of camphor, pinocaphone, thujone, isopinocamphone, with [[alpha]]- and [[beta]]-pinene, [[alpha]]-terpinene, linalool, bornylacetate and many others
  • Flavonoids, including diosmin and hesperidin.
  • Miscellaneous: hyssopin (a glucoside), tannins 5-8%, resin.
Actions: Anti-spasmodic, expectorant, diaphoretic, nervine, anti-inflammatory, carminative, hepatic, emmenagogue.

Indications: Hyssop has an interesting range of uses which are largely attributable to the anti-spasmodic action of the volatile oil. It is used in coughs, bronchitis and chronic catarrh. Its diaphoretic properties explain its use in the common cold. As a nervine it may be used in anxiety states, hysteria and petit mal (a form of epilepsy).

King's Dispensatory considers it a " stimulant, aromatic, carminative and tonic. Principally used in quinsy and other sore throats, as a gargle, combined with sage and alum, in infusion sweetened with honey. Also recommended in asthma, coughs, and other affections of the chest, as an expectorant. The leaves applied to bruises, speedily relieve the pain, and disperse every spot or mark from the affected parts."

Combinations: It may be combined with White Horehound and Coltsfoot in the treatment of coughs and bronchitis. For the common cold it may be mixed with Boneset, Elder Flower and Peppermint.

Preparation and dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: Take l-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Hyssopus


Kreis W Kaplan MH Freeman J Sun DK Sarin PS

Inhibition of HIV replication by Hyssop officinalis extracts.

Antiviral Res (1990 Dec) 14(6):323-37

Crude extracts of dried leaves of Hyssop officinalis showed strong anti-HIVactivity as measured by inhibition of syncytia formation, HIV reverse transcriptase (RT), and p17 and p24 antigen expression, but were non-toxic to the uninfected Molt-3 cells. Ether extracts from direct extraction (ProcedureI), after removal of tannins (Procedure II), or from the residue after dialysis of the crude extract (Procedure III), showed good antiviral activity. Methanolextracts, subsequent to ether, chloroform and chloroform ethanol extractions, derived from procedure I or II, but not III, also showed very strong anti-HIV activity. In addition, the residual material after methanol extractions still showed strong activity. Caffeic acid was identified in the ether extract ofprocedure I by HPLC and UV spectroscopy. Commercial caffeic acid showed good antiviral activity in the RT assay and high to moderate activity in the syncytia assay and the p17 and p24 antigen expression. Tannic acid and gallic acid, common to other teas, could not be identified in our extracts. When commercial products of these two acids were tested in our assay systems, theyshowed high to moderate activity against HIV-1. Hyssop officinalis extracts contain caffeic acid, unidentified tannins, and possibly a third class of unidentified higher molecular weight compounds that exhibit strong anti-HIVactivity, and may be useful in the treatment of patients with AIDS.

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 About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......moreDavid Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH
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