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Hyssop

Uses

Botanical names:
Hyssopus officinalis

Parts Used & Where Grown

Hyssop reportedly originated in the area around the Black Sea in central Asia and today is widely cultivated in other arid regions, partly because it thrives even in the most desolate soils. Hyssop’s fragrant flowers and leaves are used as medicine.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Asthma
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Traditionally, herbs that have a soothing action on bronchioles are also used for asthma. These include marshmallow , mullein , hyssop , and licorice . Elecampane has been used traditionally to treat coughs associated with asthma.4

1 Star
Colic
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Hyssop has mild sedative properties and may also be helpful in relieving colic, but research is lacking. Though no definitive information on hyssop supplementation is available, 1 teaspoon of hyssop herb steeped in 1 cup of just-boiled water in a closed container for 15 to 20 minutes, then given in sips from a bottle over a period of 2 to 3 hours may help calm colic.

1 Star
Common Cold and Sore Throat
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Boneset is another immune stimulant and diaphoretic that helps fight off minor viral infections, such as the common cold. In addition, linden and hyssop may promote a healthy fever and the immune system’s ability to fight infections . Yarrow is another diaphoretic that has been used for relief of sore throats, though it has not yet been researched for this purpose.

1 Star
Cough
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The mucilage of slippery elm gives it a soothing effect for coughs. Usnea also contains mucilage, which may be helpful in easing irritating coughs. There is a long tradition of using wild cherry syrups to treat coughs. Other traditional remedies to relieve coughs include bloodroot , catnip , comfrey (the above-ground parts, not the root), horehound , elecampane , mullein , lobelia , hyssop , licorice , mallow , (Malvia sylvestris), red clover , ivy leaf , pennyroyal  (Hedeoma pulegioides, Mentha pulegium), onion , (Allium cepa), and plantain (Plantago lanceolata, P. major). None of these has been investigated in human trials, so their true efficacy for relieving coughs is unknown.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

The most common uses of hyssop in traditional herbalism have been to relieve chest congestion and coughs , to soothe sore throats , and to act as a mild sedative.1 Some herbalists consider it stronger for relieving gas or intestinal cramping than for easing a cough.2 In addition to using hyssop for the above conditions, early 20th century Eclectic physicians (doctors who recommended herbs) in the United States used the herb topically to soothe burned skin.3

How It Works

Botanical names:
Hyssopus officinalis

How It Works

Due to the presence of volatile oil constituents in hyssop, it may provide relief for mild irritations of the upper respiratory tract that accompany the common cold . The expectorant action of hyssop’s volatile oil may partially explain its traditional use for coughs , asthma , and bronchitis .5 The volatile oils are also thought to contribute to hyssop’s carminative actions and use for mild cramping and discomfort in the digestive tract. The German Commission E has not approved hyssop for any medical indication.6 Test tube studies have found that certain fractions of hyssop (one being a polysaccharide designated as MAR-10) may inhibit the activity of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).7 , 8 Yet, there have been no studies in humans to determine whether hyssop or any of its constituents are effective in treating HIV infection or AIDS.

How to Use It

Hyssop may be taken as a tea or tincture. The tea is prepared by infusing 2–3 teaspoons of herb in one cup (250 ml) of hot water for ten to fifteen minutes. Three cups can be drunk per day. Alternatively, 1–4 ml of tincture can be taken three times per day.9 If hyssop is being used to help soothe a sore throat , gargle with the tea or tincture before swallowing. The essential oil should never be used at a level higher than 1–2 drops per day internally, though more can be used topically on unbroken skin. One teaspoon (5 grams) of hyssop herb steeped in 1 cup (250 ml) hot water in a closed vessel for 15–20 minutes, then given in sips from a bottle over a period of 2–3 hours, may help calm colic .

Interactions

Botanical names:
Hyssopus officinalis

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Hyssopus officinalis

Side Effects

Tea and tincture of hyssop are unlikely to cause adverse effects.10 Although, the volatile oil, particularly its constituent pinocamphone, has been reported to cause seizures in laboratory animals as well as in humans when taking more than 10 drops in a day or a child taking 2–3 drops over several days.11 For this reason, the volatile oil should be used with extreme caution and is not recommended for those with epilepsy or any other seizure disorder. The herb is not recommended during pregnancy .12

References

1. Castleman M. The Healing Herbs. New York: Bantam, 1991, 323–7.

2. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1985, 206.

3. Castleman M. The Healing Herbs. New York: Bantam, 1991, 323–7.

4. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 222–4.

5. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C (eds). PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics, 2000, 414–5.

6. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 338–9.

7. Gollapudi S, Sharma HA, Aggarwal S, et al. Isolation of a previously unidentified polysaccharide (MAR-10) from Hyssop officinalis that exhibits strong activity against human immunodeficiency virus type 1. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1995;210:145–51.

8. Kreis W, Kaplan MH, Freeman J, et al. Inhibition of HIV replication by Hyssop officinalis extracts. Antiviral Res 1990;14:323–37.

9. Hoffmann D. The New Holistic Herbal. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1990, 207.

10. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 338–9.

11. Tisserand R, Balacs T. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1995, 67.

12. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A (eds). American Herbal Product Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, 63.

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