hyssop

Hyssop: helps relieve coughs and colds. Also relaxant for anxiety and hysteria ...

Common Names: Hyssop

Botanical Name: Hyssopus officinalis

Family: Lamiaceae

Plant Type: Semi-evergreen dwarf shrub

Parts Used: Shoots, leaves, and flowers

Flowering: June - August

Hyssop is a hardy evergreen, bushy herb that is native to the Mediterranean and eastern Asia. It has been naturalized throughout most of Europe and North America.

Description: They are aromatic, with erect branched stems up to 60 cm long covered with fine hairs at the tips. The leaves are narrow oblong, 2–5 cm long. The small blue flowers are borne on the upper part of the branches during summer.

Cultivation: Perennial, hardy to zone 4. It prefers light, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.7 in full sun to part shade. Grow from seeds in spring or from cuttings taken from spring through to autumn.

Harvesting: Harvest leaves any time and flowering tops as flowering begins. Dry, or infuse in oil.

Culinary Uses: Hyssop is a favorite of the makers of bitters, digestives and liqueurs (Absinthe, Benedictine and Chartreuse), but many people find it too pungent to use much in cooking. Use this herb sparingly; it can easily overpower the other flavors in a dish. Only two or three leaves or flowers suffice for an individual serving of green salad. But a little hyssop can be a pleasant surprise in simple fruit dishes such as compotes or stewed prunes. It will add a great deal of interest to a peach cobbler, which might otherwise be sweet and mellow but not much more. Just sprinkle a scant teaspoon of ground dried hyssop, or twice as much of the finely chopped fresh leaves, under the crust. A pinch of the herb is good in pea soup and in lentil and mushroom dishes.

Hyssop Magick

Purification. Protection.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Jupiter

Element: Fire

Add a pinch of dried hyssop to your bathwater as part of a ritual healing and purification.

Use a small bunch of hyssop leaves to sprinkle water over objects or around rooms to bless them.

Burn hyssop as an incense to raise the spiritual vibrations of your home and release the energy of protection.

To remove negativity, tie a bunch of hyssop branches together to create a symbolic broom. use it to sweep your home, removing any negative energy or spirits.

Herbal Healing with Hyssop

Cosmetic Uses: Use hyssop bath sachets for a soothing bath, or use it in a steaming herbal facial to cleanse the skin.

Medicinal Actions: Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, aperient, astringent, balsamic, cardiac, carminative, cephalic, cicatrizant, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, healing (skin), hypertensor, laxative (mild), nervine, parasiticide, pectoral, regulator (blood pressure), resolvent, stimulant (adrenal glands), stomachic, sudorific, tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary

Medicinal Uses: Use a poultice of hyssop to help heal wounds and bruises, including black eyes. It has mild germ-killing attributes. It is an anti-spasmodic and mild expectorant, and can be used to treat colds, coughs and congestion.

Body Care with Hyssop

  • To reduce swelling and the colour of bruises, gently stroke infused hyssop leaf oil on affected areas twice daily.
  • To loosen catarrh, take 1 cup hyssop leaf infusion three times daily. To enhance the effects, sweeten with 1 teaspoon hyssop honey (available at health stores)

Infusion: 1 teaspoon dried or 3 teaspoons fresh hyssop leaves in 1 cup just-boiled water.

Infused oil: Fill a clean glass jar with fresh leaves or flowers, then pour in olive oil to cover the herbs. Leave the jar on a sunny windowsill for two to three weeks, stirring occasionally. Pour the mix into a suspended muslin bag to filter through to a bowl below. Squeeze out the remaining oil. Repeat the process using the same oil but fresh herbs for a stronger infused oil. Store in dark-glass bottles for six to 12 months.

Source: The Essential Herbs Handbook by Lesley Bremness

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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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