• The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World

HYSSOP ( Hyssopus officinalis L. )
Names in Other Languages:

English Hyssop
French Hysope, Herbe sacrée, Hyssope
German Eisop, Joseph, Kirchenseppl, Ysop
Spanish Hisopo
Italian Issopo, Ossopo
Turkish Çördük otu, Zufa otu
Japanese ヒソップ Hissopu

FAMILY: Lamiaceae

ORIGIN:   : Mediterranea.

Hyssop flowers

Hyssop leaves

Hyssop is a bushy, evergreen perennial herb which grows 1-2 feet high. Hyssop flowers are rose to bluish-purple growing in whorls at the tops of the branches. They bloom from June to October. The leaves are small and narrow. Hyssop grows well in dry, rocky soil in full sun.


Leaves and flowers All aerial parts of the plant (stem, leaves, flowers) are used together.


Aromatic and slightly bitter; its aroma is weak and can reduce after drying.


The content of essential oil is rather low (0.3 to 0.9%); it is mostly composed of cineol, β-pinene and a variety of bicyclic monoterpene derivatives (L-pinocamphene, isopinocamphone, pinocarvone).

As many other plant of the mint family, hyssop contains rather large amounts of bitter and antioxidative tannines: Phenols with a diterpenoid skeleton (carnosol, carnosolic acid), depsides of coffeic acid and several triterpenoid acids (ursolic and oleanolic acid). The chemical composition of hyssor is about 2% volatile oils and pinocamphone, isopinocamphone, pinenes, camphene and terpenine; a glycoside called hyssopin; up to 8% tannins; flavonoids; isolic acid; oleonolic acid; a bitter principle called marrubiin; resin and gum as well as 50 other compounds. It contains volatile oil, sugar cholic, fat, tannins, carotene and xanthophylls. The tops contain ursolic acid. A glucoside diosmin which, on hydrolysis yields rhamnose, glucose and the aglucone diosmetin, have also been isolated.


Hyssop can be used for robust, rustic dishes like potato or bean soup and it goes well with fat meat. It is suggested to use to spice calf and chicken, where it may be an interesting alternative to the herb sage which hyssop resembles in bitterness but not in fragrance. Hyssop is added to bouquet garni as well. It is used as tea.


Hyssop is an aromatic, smooth, perennial herb with erect or diffused branches and it is a stimulant and a tonic. It is antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, pectoral, stimulant, stomachic and tonic.

Hyssop tea can be used as a remedy for bronchitis, as an expectorant, for digestion, and for sore throat problems. The plant does contain anti-viral and antiseptic properties, and is safe for use in moderation.

Externally, Hyssop leaves can be added into tea or water, and maybe some oatmeal to reach desired consistency. This can be used for treating, cuts, scrapes, bruises, cold sores, herpes sores, and to heal scars.

It has a positive effect when used to treat bronchitis and respiratory infections, especially where there is excessive mucous production. Hyssop can irritate the mucous membranes, so it is best given after an infection has peaked, when the herb's tonic action encourages a general recovery.

Caution: The plant should not be used by pregnant women, however, since in large quantities it can induce a miscarriage. The essential oil should not be used internally except under professional supervision.