Aromatherapy
Hyssop

Hyssopus officinalis

Hyssop essential oil is obtained from hyssop (botanical name Hyssopus officinalis) plant belonging to the vast Labiate family. Actually, hyssop is a genus comprising around a dozen species of herbaceous or semi-woody plants that are native to central Asia as well as eastern Mediterranean. The plant, like the hyssop essential oil is aromatic, and has straight stems that grow up to a height of 60 cm. While the stems are covered with fine bristles at the tips, the plant produces slender oblong-shaped leaves length of which varies between 2 cm and 5 cm. Hyssop plant bears tiny bluish blooms during summer.

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The essential oil extracted from hyssop possesses several therapeutic properties and is used to treat a number of conditions. This oil is especially outstanding as a tonic. Hyssop essential oil is derived from the plants commercially cultivated in Germany and Provence and, for its exquisite aroma, is frequently used in eau-de-cologne. This plant was known as Ezob to the Hebrews and the present name of the plant 'hyssop' is derived from these lines: "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean'; Psalm 51:9. This essential oil is particularly effective for treating any type of respiratory difficulties, including asthma and associated problems. Both the slender leaves and tiny bluish blooms of hyssop are used to prepare hyssop essential oil by a process known as steam or vapour distillation. The essential oil obtained from the hyssop leaves and flowers possesses a potent, sharp, sweet and camphorous aroma having a warm connotation. The color of this essential oil varies from being nearly transparent to light yellow.

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The essential oil extracted from the tender and thin leaves and small bluish flowers of H. officinalis have been traditionally used by people of different cultures for centuries owing to its valuable therapeutic properties. The sweet and sharp aroma of this essential oil offers tenderness when it is used for massage. As mentioned earlier, this essential oil possesses several therapeutic properties and, hence, is used for treating a number of conditions. Some case specific health benefits of hyssop essential oil have been discussed briefly below.

  • Hyssop essential oil is a potent tonic that facilities a variety of physiological coordination of the body and encourages the secretion of hormones and enzymes. In doing so, this essential oil helps to maintain the overall health of the body.
  • The essential oil extracted from the leaves and flowers of hyssop is a very strong antiseptic and is often used to provide relief from viral, bacterial and fungal infections. This oil is an excellent remedy for diarrhea, cough, cold, fever, sore throat, tonsillitis, catarrh and influenza.
  • As mentioned earlier, hyssop essential oil serves as a powerful tonic for the body and helps in promoting a number of functions of the different body organs.
  • Hyssop essential oil is also a potent astringent and helps to tauten the skin, thereby, diminishing the effects of aging. In addition, this oil also helps to tone up the muscles.
  • Hyssop essential oil also possesses anti-spasmodic properties and this attribute of the oil is effective in providing relief from spasms of the muscular, digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems. Besides, hyssop essential oil also augments blood and lymph circulation throughout the body.
  • Among other therapeutic properties, hyssop essential oil is also a strong diuretic agent. By encouraging the outflow of urine, this oil helps to detoxify the body. It helps the body to get rid of the toxic substances and wastes produced by the body by means of frequent urination. This action of hyssop essential oil also helps one to prevent formation of kidney stones.
  • Hyssop essential oil also possesses carminative properties and, hence, helps to provide relief from flatulence or gas formed in the stomach and intestines.
  • Use of the essential oil obtained from hyssop is also effective in alleviating physical as well as mental fatigue and exhaustion, and, by doing so, it helps to improve the mental alertness of an individual.
  • Hyssop essential oil is especially beneficial for women as it also possesses the emmenagogue properties (a medication that promoted menstrual discharge). Use of this essential oil helps to alleviate the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and, at the same time, diminishes impediments in blood flow, if there is any. In addition, hyssop essential oil also helps to fight excessive water retention by the body. Water retention is known to be a common problem endured by women during their menstrual periods. The emmenagogue attribute of hyssop essential oil also helps in regulating the menstrual cycle.
  • The essential oil of hyssop also possesses potent expectorant properties and, thus, aids in expelling mucus and phlegm from the lungs.
  • This oil is also beneficial for treating various skin conditions. Especially, hyssop essential oil is effective for treating skin disorders, such as eczema and dermatitis.
  • The sweet and camphor-like aroma of hyssop essential oil has a positive effect on the mind and emotions. When used in aromatherapy, this oil helps to provide relief from many psychological maladies, such as depression, tension, worries and nervous anxiety. The sweet fragrance of the oil also helps to improve one's mood and bring in clarity of thoughts as well as promote mental alertness.
  • Another valuable therapeutic attribute of hyssop essential oil is its actions as a potent expectorant. This particular attribute of the oil helps it to draw out mucus and phlegm from the respiratory tract, especially the lungs, and, thereby, decongest the respiratory tract when one is suffering from coughs, colds and flues.
  • The potent antiseptic properties of hyssop essential oil make it useful for use on cuts and bruises with a view to prevent infections on the wounds. In addition, topical application of this oil on wounds also facilitates the healing process.
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As aforementioned, the essential oil obtained by steam distilling the slender leaves and tiny bluish flowers of hyssop possesses a sweet, camphor-like top-note along with a tepid and zesty woody connotation. For over a thousand years now, this herb has been traditionally used for its valuable medicinal properties - antiseptic, anticontagious and disinfectant.

Among the various types of essential oils available, hyssop essential oil is considered to have the most potent anti-viral property. This essential oil encloses molecules from almost all categories of compounds present in different therapeutic oils. Despite this, hyssop essential oil is considerably mild in nature. Herbalists often recommend this essential oil for treating herpes simplex (a severe viral ailment distinguished by formation of clusters of watery blisters). In addition to herpes simplex, hyssop essential oil is also effective in curing other viral infections. This oil may be used in several different ways - with the help of a nebulizing diffuser or on the acupressure/ reflexology points of the feet related to any ailment.

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In aromatherapy, hyssop essential oil is primarily used to treat digestive as well as respiratory problems. It is also used externally to treat toothache, earache, sores, bruises and rheumatism. Very often, the essential oil extracted from the leaves and flowers of hyssop is also used as a common tonic to provide relief from nervous anxiety and hysteria or panic. Presently, hyssop is listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopeia for its effectiveness in healing common cold and bronchitis.

The use of hyssop essential oil has a positive impact on the mind and ensures a feeling of alertness and, at the same time, facilitates in removing mental fatigue and exhaustion. Owing to these attributes, hyssop essential oil is effective as a tonic or stimulant during convalescence.

Hyssop essential oil is also beneficial for women and, in general, it helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. At the same time, it is useful in curing amenorrhea (absence of the menses) and leucorrhoea (a white or yellowish discharge of mucous material from the vagina, indicating an infection).

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General properties

  • antiviral
  • carminative
  • decongestant
  • expectorant
  • stimulant
  • sudorific
  • tonic

Blends well with

General uses

Precaution

Notwithstanding the health benefits offered by hyssop essential oil, it may also result in toxicity and epileptic convulsions if it is not used in appropriate measures or used in excess. Hence, it is advisable that hyssop essential oil should not be used in epilepsy. It is should not be used by people who have been enduring high blood pressure. In fact, this essential oil encloses a chemical element known as pinocamphone that causes it to be somewhat noxious. The intensity of pinocamphone in hyssop essential oil differs conditional on the time of the year the plant is harvested. Even if any hyssop essential oil contains low concentration of pinocamphone or the intensity of its toxicity is low, it is always advisable to use this oil in moderation, especially in people who are in the contra-indicated 'risk' groups. Sensitive individuals should never use hyssop essential oil as it may prove to be life threatening. In addition, women should also avoid this oil during pregnancy.

In addition, always remember to water down or dilute hyssop essential oil with any suitable carrier oil before using it. At the same time, it is important to talk to an aromatherapist expert regarding the safe and effectual use of hyssop essential oil for medical purposes.

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