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What is Hyssop Oil?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Hyssop Oil, an extract of the herb Hyssopus officinalis, is a versatile herbal medicine. It is used in aromatherapy as well as topically for treating scars, colds, and many other conditions. Hyssop oil is also a popular additive to perfumes and other cosmetics, as well as foods.

A pale yellow to colorless oil, hyssop oil has astringent, anti-infectious, diuretic, antiseptic, expectorant, and antiviral properties. The oil can work as a sedative for people with nervous disorders. It can also treat inflammation. Bruising and scar tissue may be treated with the oil, as well as eczema.

As an aromatherapy remedy, hyssop oil can treat respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis and asthma. In this form, it has also been used to treat influenza, anxiety, stress, colds, emphysema, and fatigue. Hyssop tea can be used to treat respiratory complaints as well.

In food production, hyssop oil is used to make an aromatic liqueur known as Chartreuse. It is also used in the flavored liqueur, Benedictine. Tea from the herb, usually in dried form, is also available. Hyssop, which has a minty taste, is used in poultry stuffing, sauces, salads, stews, and other dishes. It can be an effective substitute for mint when cooking at home.

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The cosmetic industry also has many uses for hyssop essential oil, which has a warm, sweet scent. Used in perfumes, it is also found in various soaps and other products. Flower arrangements, potpourri, and other aromatic displays often make use of the oil as well.

Herbalists warn that a distinction should be made between the herb hyssop and its essential oil. The ancient medicinal herb can have different properties than hyssop essential oil. The plant's parts each differ in their uses.

Pregnant and nursing women, children, and people taking medication should seek a doctor's approval before taking hyssop remedies. It can be toxic, especially to people with epilepsy or high blood pressure. The oil should only be taken in moderation.

Native to Mediterranean areas and Asia, the herb hyssop is named after Hyssopos of Dioscorides of Greece. Its translation means holy herb. In ancient Greece, the herb was used for purifying sacred places as well as stewing. A member of the Lamiaceae family, hyssop grows in Europe, Russia, and America as well.

It can grow up to 24 inches (61 centimeters) in height, and features small leaves, blue flowers, and a woody stem. Though varieties of white and pink hyssop exist, hyssop oil is only produced from the blue flower-bearing version of the plant. The extract is taken from the herb's flowers and leaves.

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