Hyssop is a perennial plant which is native to the Mediterranean region and has been imported and naturalized in the US and Canada. It grows along roadsides and is sometimes found as a garden herb. Hyssop is quite similar in appearance to other members of the mint family. Its volatile oil possesses a highly aromatic camphor-like smell.
Hyssop has been noted for centuries in herbal medicine. In addition, there are a number of references in the Bible to plants called “hyssop,” although there is considerable controversy regarding the actual identity of these plants. There is little evidence that the plant mentioned in Bible was actually “H. officinalis.”Traditional/Ethno botanical uses
The ancient use of this plant was an insecticide, insect repellent, and pediculicide (lice eradicator). Extracts of plant have been used as a fragrance in soaps and perfumes, and to flavor liqueurs, sauces, puddings, and candies.
The plant has been used in herbal medicine for the treatment of sore throats, colds, hoarseness, and as an expectorant. Some herbalists also believe that hyssop has beneficial effects for asthma, urinary tract inflammation, and appetite stimulation. Its effectiveness in relieving gas and colic also are listed under its medicinal uses. None of these uses have been studied clinically.
Although an extract of the leaves has been suggested for the treatment of wounds, there does not appear to be strong evidence for its effectiveness as an antibacterial.
Still used today by herbalists for its beneficial effects, hyssop’s volatile oil represents the most important fraction of this plant. It may have some small beneficial effect in the treatment of sore throats and as an expectorant. However, clinical studies are lacking for any medicinal use of hyssop.