Hyssop is a smooth, aromatic, perennial herb, 30 to 60 cms high. It has erect or diffused branches; linear oblong, lance. shaped leaves with a blunt or rounded apex and bluish purple flowers. Hyssop comes from the Hebrew name Esob. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed hyssop for chest complaints.
Hyssop contains volatile oil, fat, sugar, choline, tannins, carotene and xanthophyll. The tops contains ursolic acid. A glucoside diosmetin which, on hydrolysis yields rhamnose, glucose and the aglucone diosmetin have also been isolated.
Hyssop is a stimulant and a tonic. It increases the secretion and discharge of urine and removes any obstruction to body secretion or excretion by opening the natural passages or pores of the body. It also induces movement of the bowels.
Herbalists recommend hyssop for treating a wide range of respiratory disorders such as influenza, colds, catarrh and bronchitis. Marrubiin, a bitter principle in the plant, has expectorant qualities and helps to promote the removal of catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes. Hyssop extracts have exhibited antiviral activities, especially against the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores. An infusion or a syrup of its leaves can be taken in coughs, asthma, sore throat and chronic bronchitis with beneficial results.
Hyssop is useful in killing intestinal worms. An infusion of the herb or juice of the leaves taken twice or thrice daily expells roundworms.
Hyssop is useful in digestive disorders. It strengthens the stomach and promotes its action. It can be given beneficially with honey in dyspepsia and flatulence.
A paste of the herb applied externally to the affected parts is an effective remedy for skin conditions' like bruises, wounds and bums. It is also good for blackeye, sprains and strains. The paste steeped in boiling water can be used to foment contused wounds, black eye, sprains and strains.
The herb is also useful in uterine and urinary disorders. The infusion of the herb is a useful-gargle for sore throat and a wash for sore eyes.