Saturday, February 10, 2007

Plant of the Week: Hyssopus Officinalis


This week I chose to work with Hyssop. Long known as a purifying herb, hyssop is mentioned in the bible. It's unfortunate that hyssop, such a well loved and useful herb has lost it's beloved place at the hand of many modern herbalists. It wasn't even a plant I'd learned in years. I dont remember where I got the idea to learn more about it, but the idea struck, and insisted. I contacted another herbalist whom I know had some growing this summer, and requested some fresh tincture and dried herb for tea.
When that bag arrived I opened it up for a quick smell, and YUM! Hyssop, unique unto itself, does remind me a little of catnip, in smell and taste. Some of it's actions are similar as well, but it has a stronger action on the respiratory system than catnip.









Stimulant Expectorant



Hyssop acts on the mucus membranes, cappillaries and nervous tissue. When I took hyssop, tincture or tea, what I thought of was a "breath of fresh air." It was a like a fragrant spring breeze in my lungs. It's aromatics were relaxing and open up the respiratory passages, while also stimulating circulation and expectoration. Hyssop, when used as a hot tea is a wonderful relaxing diaphoretic and stimulating expectorant combined with antiseptic aromatics. That's the breath of fresh spring air I experienced from it. Likewise, it would be soothing to an infected sore throat when combined with gentle astringent sage leaves, and/or marshmallow. Hyssop is also a very gentle sedative that I found to work very well taken just before bed. I don't usually experience severe insomnia, but hyssop relaxed me just enough, and possibly lowered my body temperature through opening up capillary beds to ease me gently into slumber, and awaken refreshed.

A cup of hyssop tea is also a nice carminative with warming, stimulating properties to give the digestion a gentle boost and relieve gas or colic. Also a mild antispasmodic, hyssop can be used for menstrual cramps associated with cold and sluggish conditions of the uterus.

Hyssop is also known as a strewing herb, and makes a lovely smudge for purifying the air of contamination from illness or emotional tension.

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"The mother of us all, the oldest of us all, Hard, splendid as rock, Let the beauty you love, be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth"~ Rumi ~