Hyssop

Botanical Name : Hyssopus officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Mentheae
Genus: Hyssopus
Species: H. officinalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name : Hyssop

Habitat : Hyssopus is native to Southern Europe, the Middle East, and the region surrounding the Caspian Sea.It grows on Old walls and buildings, stony places. Dry hills and rock ledges to 2200 metres in Turkey

Description:

Hyssop is a brightly coloured shrub or subshrub that ranges from 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 in) in height. The stem is woody at the base, from which grow a number of straight branches. Its leaves are lanceolate, dark green in colour, and from 2 to 2.5 cm (0.79 to 0.98 in) long.It is hardy to zone 7. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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During the summer, the plant produces bunches of pink, blue, or, more rarely, white fragrant flowers. These give rise to small oblong achenes.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a light, dry calcareous soil and a sunny position. A very cold-hardy plant, when dormant it can tolerate temperatures down to about -25°c. Hyssop has very aromatic leaves and is commonly grown in the herb garden where it makes a good edging plant to a border. There are some named varieties. The plant needs to be trimmed regularly to keep it in shape, untrimmed plants will soon degenerate. Spring is the best time to trim the plants. It is probably best to replace the plants every few years. The flowers have a rich aromatic fragrance. Hyssop is a very good plant for attracting bees and butterflies to the garden. It is a good companion plant to grow with grapes, but it grows badly with radishes.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Very easy, the seed germinates quickly. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 7 cm with a heel, June/July in a frame. Fairly easy, the cuttings root quite quickly. Grow on the plants in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant out in late spring. Cuttings of greenwood, 5 – 7 cm with a heel, April/May in a frame. Plant out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn.

Edible Uses:

The plant is commonly used by beekeepers to produce a rich and aromatic honey.

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Herb hyssop leaves are used as an aromatic condiment. The leaves have a lightly bitter taste due to its tannins, and an intense minty aroma. Due to its intensity, it is used moderately in cooking. The herb is also used to flavor liqueur, and is part of the official formulation of Chartreuse

Medicinal Uses:
As a medicinal herb, hyssop has soothing, expectorant, and cough suppressant properties. The plant also includes the chemicals thujone and phenol, which give it antiseptic properties. Its high concentrations of thujone and chemicals that stimulate the central nervous system can provoke epileptic reactions when taken in high enough doses. The oil of hyssop can cause seizures and even low doses (2–3 drops) can cause convulsions in children.

It has been also used in the formulation of eye drops and mouthwash.

Herb hyssop has also been observed to stimulate the gastrointestinal system.
The flowering tops and the leaves are tonic and stomachic. Hyssop contains marrubiin, also found in horehound. It’s an expectorant, used to treat lung conditions, specifically bronchitis, especially where there is excessive mucus production. Hyssop appears to encourage the production of a more liquid mucus, and at the same time gently stimulates expectoration. This combined action clears thick and congested phlegm. 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. Hyssop also contains ursolic acid, which reduces inflammation, so the tea makes a good sore throat gargle. Studies also show it to be an antiviral that is especially effective against the herpes simplex virus. It is included in some flu and cold remedies to reduce congestion and fevers. As a sedative, hyssop is a useful remedy against asthma in both children and adults, especially where the condition is exacerbated by mucus congestion. Like many herbs with a strong volatile oil, it soothes the digestive tract and can be an effective remedy against indigestion, gas, bloating, and colic. An old country remedy for rheumatism was made from the fresh green tops brewed into a tea and taken several times a day. When hyssop flowers are blended with valerian root, chamomile flowers, a few peppermint leaves, and a pinch of lavender flowers, the mixture makes a powerful sedative tea on going to bed. A wash made from the leaves and applied to cuts and bruises is antiseptic and healing. The leaves were soaked in oil and applied to the head to kill lice. Special application for adders sting was a compress of bruised hyssop leaves mixed with honey, salt, and cumin seeds. Experimental extracts have shown promise against herpes simplex. The green tops of the herb can be added to soups to benefit asthmatics. Hyssop baths are useful for rheumatic complaints.

 HYSSOP TEA:
‘Infuse a quarter of an ounce of dried hyssop flowers in a pint of boiling water for ten minutes; sweeten with honey, and take a wineglassful three times a day, for debility of the chest. It is also considered a powerful vermifuge.

Other Uses:
Essential; Fungicide; Ground cover; Hedge; Pot-pourri; Repellent; Strewing.

Hyssop can be grown as a dwarf hedge, it responds well to trimming in the spring. The growing plant attracts cabbage white butterflies away from brassicas. Another report says that hyssop attracts cabbage white butterflies and should not be grown near cabbages. An essential oil from the leaves is antiseptic and also used in perfumery and as a food flavouring. It has a particularly fine odour and is much valued by perfumers. Average yields of the oil are about 0.6%. Yields from the blue-flowered variety are 1 – 1.5% essential oil, the red-flowered variety yields about 0.8%, whilst the white-flowered form yields 0.5% essential oil. The plant was formerly used as a strewing herb and is also used in pot-pourri. A tea made from the leaves is useful for controlling bacterial plant diseases. Plants can be grown for ground cover when spaced about 45cm apart each way

It is a Scented Plant:

Flowers: Fresh
The flowers have a rich aromatic fragrance.

Leaves: Crushed
The bruised leaves are strongly aromatic.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hyssop48.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyssopus_officinalis
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Hyssopus+officinalis

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

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