Flowering tops, essential oil, aerial parts.
In the contemporary herbal scene, the hyssop is an undervalued medicinal herb, though both the calming and tonic effects induced by the herb are potentially useful in dealing with a large variety of disorders and problems. Many different respiratory infections such as bronchitis and related conditions can be positively treated using the hyssop as the remedy. In particular, all disorders that are accompanied by the production of excessive mucus in the respiratory passages are good candidates for treatment with hyssop. One of the primary actions of the hyssop in the human body appears to be its capacity to encourage the production of greater amounts of liquid mucus - which is easier to expel. The herb also seemingly stimulates an expectorant action in the body at the same time. The combination of these two actions in the body leads to the rapid clearing of thick and congested phlegm that has accumulated in the respiratory passageways. The mucous membranes can also be irritated by the hyssop, for this reason, the herbal remedy is best given to the patient after the infection has peaked and is beginning to come under control. At this juncture, the beneficial tonic action of the hyssop will encourages a general and rapid recovery without complicating matters. The hyssop is also used as a sedative herb, it is particularly useful as an herbal remedy against incidences of asthma in both children and adults - particularly, when such a condition is exacerbated by accumulated mucus in the respiratory passages. Similar to other herbs that contain a strong volatile oil, the hyssop helps in soothing the irritated digestive tract. For this reason, it is considered to be an effective herbal remedy for digestive problems of all kinds and extensively used in the treatment of chronic indigestion, excess abdominal gas, abdominal bloating, as well as colic related problems.
Though not as popular as a culinary herb in the contemporary world, the hyssop was used as a coking herb by the Romans and Greeks. The flowers and the leaves of the hyssop can be used to season all kinds of vegetable dishes, different kinds of soups, all sorts of casseroles and sauces, as well as pickles and preserve. The hyssop leaves can also be used as a stuffing for meats and poultry. The additional of some hyssop leaves can give various green salads, such as fruit salad a minty and refreshing flavor and taste. When used in cooking and in salads, the hyssop is best used sparingly, due to the fact that the flavor of the herb is quite potent. The hyssop can also be made into a refreshing and relaxing herbal tea. Prepare this herbal tea by steeping five ml or a teaspoon of dried hyssop leaves or flowers in two hundred and fifty ml of boiling water. Allow the herb to steep into the water. Once the tea is strained, sweeten it with a little honey to remove the bitterness and to add some taste. The hyssop plant can be mixed with some spearmint or with the lemon balm to prepare an herbal tea that has a lighter flavor. Commercially sold, French liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse contain the hyssop as an essential ingredient.
Fresh plucked or even dried hyssop flowers can be added to floral arrangements and floral bouquets. The dried and fragrant smelling hyssop leaves and flowers are a popular inclusion in potpourris and sweet smelling floral sachets or packs.
The hyssop is a native species of the southern European regions, though it grows elsewhere in North America as well. The Mediterranean countries are ideal as a habitat for the plant, and the hyssop grows well particularly in the Balkans and in Turkey. The ideal habitat for growth of hyssop is sites that are composed of dry, rocky and limestone rich soils. At the same time, the hyssop successfully grows on any type of light soil as long as the soil is well drained. While capable of growing on nutrient poor soils and even though not sensitive to any particular soil condition, the older hyssop plants may benefit from nitrogen rich fertilizer mixed into the soil early in the growing season. The pH range for the hyssop extends form an acidic 5.0 to a slightly alkaline 7.5. The hyssop can be said to prefer acidic soils. Optimal growth of hyssop plants is obtained at sties with good exposure to sunlight, this is not a necessary condition and hyssop plants can also successfully grow at sites with a partial shade and in woodland type of habitat. The hyssop plant is easily to grown from stocked seeds. The seeds are usually sown out of doors early in spring, about a couple of weeks before the last frost dates of the new year. The young seedlings may be able to tolerate the late frosts. When the hyssop is being sown out in the fields, the seeds must not be buried to depths of more than one centimeter - ideally the depth should be half an inch. Germinations rates for the hyssop plant are usually good and the first seedlings will usually break the surface within two to three weeks time from the date on which they were sown. All the seeds sown in an area may not germinate out and some of the seeds may remain in a dormant state for months on end before finally emerging from the ground. It is also possible to propagate the hyssop from cuttings taken off young plants first year of growth. These cuttings are usually taken late in the spring or early in the fall. The hyssop herb can also be propagated by the root division method; this division is made early in the spring or in the late summer months. To encourage optimal rate of growths in the young hyssop plants, all the herbs in a field must be spaced thirty cm or twelve inches apart from one another. This ensures maximum growth and optimal use of space by the cropping herb. New growth can be encouraged in the field throughout the year by carefully cutting back the stems to ground level at least once, in the spring or in the fall of all growth years. When cultivating hyssop in a field, it is standard practice to discard or divide all the plants periodically and to re-establish hyssop plants at any specific site at least once every three to four years. This is important as the mature hyssop plants always become woody and produce less useful foliage and must be replaced by new growth. The hyssop is a hardy and persistent plant. It is resistant to most common plant pests and diseases. However, the hyssop is vulnerable to root rot especially when it is growing in soggy soils.
Hyssop contains terpenes (including marubiin, a diterpene), a volatile oil (consisting mainly of camphor, pinocamphone, and beta-pinene), flavonoids, hyssopin, tannins, and resin. Marubiin is a strong expectorant. Pinocarriphone is toxic, and the volatile oil can cause epileptic seizures.
Herbal infusion: this can be prepared by steeping one to two teaspoonfuls of the dried hyssop in a cup of boiling water. Let the herb infuse into the water for ten to fifteen minutes before straining and cooling it down. A cup of this infusion can be drunk thrice daily to treat respiratory problems. Hyssop tincture: this form of the remedy can be used at doses of one to four ml thrice daily to treat different disorders.
One of the less well known effects of the hyssop is its capacity to stimulate menstruation in women and this may induce a miscarriage to occur in some pregnant women. This side effect is apparent when the herb is consumed in large medicinal doses and will not affect every pregnant woman in the same way. Hyssop consumptions should be altogether avoided or consumed in only small amounts by women who are pregnant or those who are already suffering from some types of menstrual problems.
The leaves of the hyssop plants must be harvested before the plant goes into a full floral bloom. The ideal time to harvest and collect the flowers is in the early morning hours immediately after the evaporation of the night dew. Fresh hyssop leaves can be contained by clipping the stem off potted plants and removing the leaves. The best time to pick fresh flowers that have to be used immediately is when they are almost fully open in the morning time. Harvested hyssop can be dried in this way, the tender stems on the upper part of the plant and the flowering shoots may be hung upside down in bunches on a wire at a site with enough flowing air - the flowing wind will dry the herb in time. The leaves and the flowers from these dried bunches are then stripped, crush and ground to a fine powders, and stored in an airtight container for later use.