Herbs > Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
Historically, lepers were required
cleanse themselves with hyssop before they were
allowed to receive visits from healthier relatives.
Even then, it was known that hyssop was an excellent
cleansing herb. More recently, it has been discovered
that hyssop leaves can sometimes grow the type of
mould which produces penicillin, making it an
Hyssop is used in the treatment of lung
inflammation, sore throats and laryngitis. It can be
particularly beneficial to individuals who are
required to use their voice, such as lecturers,
public speakers or singers, as it also soothes tired
vocal cords. For this purpose, it should be taken as
a tea. Add 2 tablespoons of hyssop leaves to 500ml of
boiling water, and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
Reheat, if necessary, so that the liquid is very
This tea can also be used to alleviate bruising.
Apply the liquid with a cotton ball until the
swelling and discolouration have subsided.
For a black eye, place a small bunch of hyssop into a
muslin bag and soak the bag in boiling water for a
minute. When it has cooled to a temperature which is
just bearable to the touch, apply to the eye. Reheat
the bag as it cools, and continue to apply until the
Hyssop boiled with vinegar makes a rinse which
relieves the pain of toothache. Gently simmer 2
teaspoons of hyssop leaves in 1/2 cup of vinegar for
about 5 minutes. Strain and swill about the mouth,
then spit out the mixture.
Diabetics should not take hyssop internally.
The small white butterflies which eat
cabbages in the garden can be lured away by a few
hyssop plants growing nearby. The butterflies will
always choose the hyssop over the cabbages,
particularly if the hyssop is in flower. In addition,
hyssop flowers will coax bees into the garden, and
its roots cleanse the soil and discourage soil pests.
It should not be planted near radishes, however, as
the two are incompatible and the hyssop will cause
the radishes to have little flavour.
Hyssop grows from seed, which should be
planted in spring. It grows very quickly, and
requires very few special conditions. Its only real
requirement is plenty of sunshine, without which it
will not flower.
Horny Goat Weed
St Johns Wort
The Complete Book of Herbs