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Hyssopus officinalis

Hyssopus officinalis

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Hyssop, ysop, hyssope, hisopo, azob

Original Habitat

Originating from Europe, the perennial Hyssop plant can grow to be about 60 centimetres tall. Hyssop is now cultivated in Southern Europe throughout the Mediterranean, Central Asia and in North America. This plant is from the mint family and its flowers and leaves are very aromatic.

Plant Part Used

Leaves and flowering tops


The essential oil of Hyssopus officinalis is used as a flavouring in foods, such as condiments, and beverages including liqueurs. In the fragrance industry it is found in soaps and cosmetic products that are sold with a spicy scent. In therapeutic aromatherapy it is used less often as a single oil and more often in formulations.


H. officinalis essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and flowering tops and is clear to pale yellow or yellow-green in colour with moderate viscosity. It has a warm, spicy and somewhat camphoraceous fragrance.[1]

Chemical Constituents

Oxides: Linalool oxide (57%)
Monoterpenes: Limonene, camphene, mycrene (20%)
Isopinocamphone [2][3]

Note: This monograph reports on this Essential Oil in regard to its potential use in the French school of aromatherapy, as well as reporting any additional science that has been published. The ratings range from +, indicating a lower therapeutic value, to ++++ indicating a higher therapeutic value.

Medicinal Uses

Virucidal (against Aspergillus fumigates, etc) ++++
Mucolytic anti-catarrhal ++
Stimulant(CNS and solar plexus) ++[4][5]

Muscle Relaxant: When used in rabbit and guinea pig intestines, the essential oil of hyssop inhibited induced contractions, thereby exhibiting muscle relaxant effects. Chemical compounds from this oil were also applied separately and isopinocamphone demonstrated similar relaxant effects.[2]

Antimicrobial: The essential oil of a subspecies of hyssop was used against several strains of gram +/- bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. The results indicated that this subspecies had antimicrobial activity and this action was due to its limonene content.[6]

Traditional Use

Inflammatory asthma (excluding allergic reactions) and secretory asthma+++
Infant bronchiolitis +++
Anxiety, nervous depression +++

There are no clinical studies to support the traditional use of the oil of this plant.

Contraindications and Precautions

Those allergic to the Lamiaceae or mint should avoid contact with hyssop.[7]

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


1.     Lis-Balchan M. Aromatherapy science: a guide for healthcare professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.

2.     Lu M. Muscle relaxing activity of Hyssopus officinalis essential oil on isolated intestinal preparations. Planta Med. Mar2002;68(3):213-216.

3.     Varga E. Investigation of variation of the production of biological and chemical compounds of Hyssopus officinalis L. Article in Hungarian. Acta Pharm Hung. May1998;998;68(3):183-188.

4.     Ghfir B. Influence of essential oil of Hyssopus officinalis on the chemical composition of the walls of Aspergillus fumigatus (Fresenius). Mycopathologia. Jul1997;138(1):7-12.

5.     Ghfir B. Effect of essential oil of Hyssopus officinalis on the lipid composition of Aspergillus fumigatus. Mycopathologia. Jun1994;126(3):163-167.

6.     Mazzanti G. Antimicrobial properties of the linalol-rich essential oil of Hyssopus officinalis L. var decumbens (Lamiaceae). Flavour and fragrance journal. 1998;13(5):289-294.

7.     Benito M. Labiatae allergy: Systemic reactions due to ingestion of oregano and thyme. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. May1996;76(5):416-418.

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