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Herb Hyssop
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Mentheae
Genus: Hyssopus
L.
Species: H. officinalis
Binomial name
Hyssopus officinalis
L.

Herb Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is an herbaceous plant of the genus Hyssopus native to Southern Europe, the Middle East, and the region surrounding the Caspian Sea. Due to its properties as an antiseptic, cough reliever, and expectorant, it is commonly used as an aromatic herb and medicinal plant.

Contents

Characteristics

Hyssop is a brightly colored shrub or subshrub that ranges from 30 to 60 centimeters in height. The stem is woody at the base, from which grow a number of straight branches. Its leaves are lanceolate, dark green in color, and from 2 to 2.5 cm long [1].

During the summer, the plant produces bunches of pink, blue, or, more rarely, white fragrant flowers. These give rise to small oblong achenes.

History and cultivation

Hyssop has been in use since Classical antiquity. Its name is a direct adaptation from the Greek υσσοπος, which in term developed from the Hebrew esob. The plant is mentioned as an aromatic herb in the Hebrew Tanakh and the Gospel of John. In the gospel, the Roman legionaries guarding the cross of Jesus Christ offer him a sponge soaked in vinegar by placing it on a sprig of hyssop and extending it.

The species as a whole is resistant to drought, and tolerant of chalky, sandy soils. It thrives in full sun and warm climates.

Harvest

Under optimal weather conditions, herb hyssop is harvested twice yearly, once at the end of spring and once more at the beginning of the fall. The plants are preferably harvested when flowering in order to collect the flowering tips.

Once the stalks are cut, they're collected and dried either stacked on pallets to allow for draining, or hung to dry. The actual drying process takes place in a cool, dry, well ventilated areas, where the materials are mixed various times. Drying herbs are kept from exposure to the sun to prevent discoloration and oxidation. The drying process takes approximately six days in its entirety. Once dried, the leaves are removed and both components are chopped finely. The final dried product weighs a third of the initial fresh weight, and can be stored for up to 18 months.

The fresh herb is commonly used in cooking. Essence of hyssop can be obtained by steaming, and is used in cooking to a lesser extent.

Uses

The plant is commonly used by beekeepers to produce a rich and aromatic honey.

Herb hyssop leaves are used as an aromatic condiment. The leaves have a lightly bitter taste due to its tannins, and an intense minty aroma. Due to its intensity, it is used moderately in cooking. The herb is also used to flavor liqueur, and is part of the official formulation of Chartreuse.

As a medicinal herb, hyssop has soothing, expectorant, and cough suppressant properties.[2] The plant also includes the chemicals thujone and phenol, which give it antiseptic properties.[3] Its high concentrations of thujone and chemicals that stimulate the central nervous system can provoke epileptic reactions when taken in high-enough doses. It has been also used in the formulation of eye drops and mouthwash.

Herb hyssop has also been observe to stimulate the gastrointestinal system [4].

Hyssop is sometimes used as a herbal remedy for HIV type 1 [5].

References

  1. ^ Pérez Maté, P. (2002). Especies aromáticas y medicinales. Buenos Aires: INTA. [1].   (Spanish)
  2. ^ Grieve, M.. "Hyssop: A Modern Herbal". Botanical.com. http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hyssop48.html.  
  3. ^ van Wyk, Ben-Erik; Wink, Michael (2004), Medicinal Plants of the World (1 ed.), Timber Press, Incorporated, ISBN 978-0881926026, http://books.google.com/books?id=bTdoTayyVrEC&pg=PA177&lpg=PA177&dq=hyssop+herb+expectorant&source=bl&ots=nsJQlfWwFX&sig=9c10Za_OpJpPsTE875WmNHrhrpI&hl=en&ei=Jr6MSciiN4zQMZyRoZEL&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result  , p 177.
  4. ^ Crellin, John; Philpott, Jane (1997), A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants: Herbal Medicine Past and Present, Duke University Press, ISBN 978-0822310198, http://books.google.com/books?id=0JaqB07uTx4C&pg=PA257&lpg=PA257&dq=hyssop+herbal+medicine&source=bl&ots=Ylbk-C_Dsj&sig=b7of5ZWmmoDnotMb9ydZKB-SC2E&hl=en&ei=e7uMSeyGLaCiMvfV8J0L&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result#PPA257,M1  
  5. ^ PDRHealth.com, Herbals & Supplements: Hyssop, 6 February 2009.

External links

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Translingual

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Etymology

Proper noun

Hyssopus officinalis

  1. (taxonomy) A taxonomic species within the genus Hyssopushyssop.

Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Hyssopus officinalis

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Nepetoideae
Tribus: Mentheae
Genus: Hyssopus
Species: Hyssopus officinalis
Subspecies: H. o. subsp. canescens

Name

Hyssopus officinalis L.

Vernacular name

Русский: Иссоп лекарственный
Suomi: Iisoppi
Türkçe: Zufa otu

References

  • Species Plantarum 2:569. 1753
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. [1]
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Hyssopus officinalis on Wikimedia Commons.

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