Family • Labiatae / Lamiaceae - Hyssopus officinalis - HYSSOP - Ngau sat chou

Scientific names

Hyssopus officinalis Linn.
Hyssopus alopecuroides Fisch. ex Benth
Hyssopus altissimus Mill.
Hyssopus angustifolius M. Bieb.
Hyssopus beugesiacus Jord. & Fourr.
Hyssopus caucasicus Spreng. ex Steud.
Hyssopus decumbens Jord. & Fourr.
Hyssopus judaeorum Sennen
Hyssopus myrtifolius Desf.

Common names

Hyssop (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Ngau sat chou, Shen xiang cao.
DUTCH: Hyssop.
FRENCH: Hysope.
GERMAN: Eisop.
GREEK: Issopos.
HINDI: Zufah-yabis.
ITALIAN: Issopo.
SPANISH: Hisopo.
URDU: Zufah.

Gen info 
Hyssops is a plant used since classical antiquity. Earliest reference to the plant goes back to the seventh century. Its camphorlike odor found utility as a cleansing herb; as an odor-eater it was strewn in sickrooms and kitchen floors.


Hyssops is a strongly aromatic perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the mint family, growing 30 to 60 centimeters or higher, upright and with many branched square stems. Leaves are opposite, linear to lanceolate, hairless, long and sessile, 1 – 1 1/2 inches long. Flowers are in whorls with a tubular corolla, two-lipped, blue or violet in color, with bell-shaped calyxes.

– Cultivated as ornamental and herbal plant.
– Occasionally grown as ground cover.
– Native to Southern Europe and temperate zones of Asia. In India, found in the Himalayas.


– Plant yields several polyphenolic compounds, primarily the flavonoids apigenin, quercetin, diosmin, luteolin and their glucosides. Other phenolic compounds are chlorogenic, protocatechuic, ferulic, syringic, p-hydroxybenzoic acid and caffeic acids.
– The aromatic volatile oil is found in its leaves, stems, and flowers.
– Essential oil analysis yielded the main components of cis-pinocamphone 42.9%, trans-pinocamphone 14.1%, germacrene-D-11-ol 5.7%, and elemol 5.6%.
– Study of aerial parts of H. officinalis yielded apigenin 7-O-ß-D-glucoronide as the major flavonoid. Essential oil yielded 20 compounds representing 99.97% of the oil, with main compounds of myrtenylacetate , camphor, germacrene, spathulenol.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antimicrobial properties of the linalol-rich essential oil of Hyssopus officinalis L. var decumbens (Lamiaceae) / Flavour and fragrance journal / 1998, vol. 13, no5, pp. 289-294

(2) Rosmarinic acid and related phenolics in transformed root cultures of Hyssopus officinalis / Yoshie Murakami et al / Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture • Volume 53, Number 1 / April, 1998 / DOI 10.1023/A:1006007707722

(3) Hyssopus officinalis – L. / Hyssop / Plants For A Future

(4) Hyssopus officinalis L. / Synonyms / The Plant List

(5) Hyssopus officinalis / Wikipedia

(6) Hyssop / Common names / Spices Board India

(7) The effect of Uygur medicine Hyssopus officinalis L on expression of T-bet, GATA-3 and STAT-3 mRNA in lung tissue of asthma rats / Wang HY, Ding JB, Halmurat U, Hou M, Xue ZQ, Zhu M, Tian SG, Ma XM. / Xi Bao Yu Fen Zi Mian Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2011 Aug;27(8):876-9.

(8) A review on Hyssopus officinalis L.: Composition and biological activities / Fathiazad Fatemeh and Sanaz Hamedeyazdan / African journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, 11/2011; 5(8):1959-1966. / DOI: 10.5897/AJPP11.527

(9) ESSENTIAL OIL COMPOSITION OF HYSSOPUS OFFICINALIS L. CULTIVATED IN SERBIA, UDC 581.135.5:66 Hyssopus Officinalis L. / Vesna Mitić, Siniša Đorđevic / FACTA UNIVERSITATIS Series: Physics, Chemistry and Technology Vol. 2, No 2, 2000, pp. 105 – 108

(10) Effect of Hyssopus officinalis L. on inhibiting airway inflammation and immune regulation in a chronic asthmatic mouse model / Xiaojuan Ma Xiumin Ma Zhixing Ma Jing Wang Zhan Sun Wenyan Yu Fengsen Li / Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, November 2014, Vol 8, Issue 4: pp 1371-1374 / DOI: 10.3892/etm.2014.1978

(11) In Vitro Activity of Hyssopus Officinalis, Tussilage Farfara, Carum Copticum Extracts Against Leishmania Major in Iran / Fatemeh Tabatabaie, Mohsen Golestani, Lame Akhlaghi, Amir Hooman Asadi, Mehri Noori, and Fatemeh Maleki* / Advanced Studies in Biology, vol. 6, 2014, no. 4, 193 – 201 / http://dx.doi.org/10.12988/asb.2014.4843

(12) Phytochemical analysis and antioxidant activity of Hyssopus officinalis L. from Iran / Fatemeh Fathiazad*, Masoumeh Mazandarani, Sanaz Hamedeyazdan / Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2011, 1(2), 63-67

(13) Essential Oil Composition and Antibacterial Activity of Hyssopus officinalis L. Grown in Iran / Nooshin Dehghanzadeh, Saghar Ketabchi, Ardalan Alizadeh / Asian J. Exp. Biol. Sci. 3(4) 2012: 761-771

(14) To Explore the Ulceroprotective and Antioxidant Potential of Hyssopus officinalis in Ethanol-Induced Gastric Ulcers in Rats / Amita Saini and Ramica Sharma* / British Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, Vol. 2, Issue 3 (July-September)


– Considered antiseptic, astringent, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, purgative, stimulant, stomachic.
– Studies have suggested antibacterial, antifungal, antidiabetic, antioxidant properties.

– Shares a common name with Artemisia vulgaris.
– Cross-allergenicity in those sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family; ie, ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds and daisies.
– Warning has been made that volatile oil can cause convulsions. Avoid with epilepsy or fits.

Parts utilized
– All aerial parts.
Cut the stems before the flowers open, hang the bunches upside down in a warm and dark place.


– Leaves and flowers are edible.
– It’s minty leaves and flowers used as flavoring for salads, soups, and poultry stuffing.
– Although too pungent for most palates, it has been used for herbal wines.

– Tincture and tea of the flower used to cure jaundice and dropsy.
– Helps improve stomach tone.
– Crushed leaves or poultice of ground leaves promotes healing of wounds and bruises.
– Hot vapors of its decoctions for inflammation of the ears.
– Infusion or decoction used for wound cleansing.
– Decoction of flowers used as expectorant.
– Used for liver and gall bladder complaints.
– As gargle and expectorant for colds and respiratory ailments.
– Infusion of leaves used externally for rheumatism. Also, as bath herb for rheumatism.
– Used to treat chest congestion, coughs; used as mild sedative.
– Used as gargle for sore throats.
– Used as poultice for bruises, sprains, wounds and insect bites.
– Used as a purgative.

– Flowers and leaves used for herbal baths.
– Aromatic oil used in perfumes and potpourris.
– Bees, birds and butterflies are attracted to its flowers.
– The volatile oil is a key ingredient to some liqueurs.
– Its medicinal odor is notable in two liqueurs: Benedictine and Chartreuse.
– Ritual: Used for purgation (religious purification) in Egypt, where, according to Chaeremon of Alexandria, priests eat it with bread to purify the food making it suitable for their austere diet.

Study Findings
• Antifungal / Essential Oil: In the study, the essential oil of HO showed a very strong antifungal activity. The most abundant components in oil are isopinocamphone (43%), pinocamphoe (16%) and b-pinene (16%). The essential oil was fungistatic on Aspergillus fumigatus. The strong antifungal potential of Hyssop essential oil can be explained by the high amount of ketones, its main constituents.
• Antimicrobial: Study yielded pinocamphone and isopinocamphone. All yeasts were strongly inhibited, seven strains of C albicans, C krusei and C tropicalis. Limonene may be responsible for the antimycotic action.
• Diabetes / a-Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity / Leaves: Study of aqueous methanol extracts of dried hyssop leaves showed (alpha)-glucosidase inhibitory activity.
• Phenolics / Rosmarinic Acid: Transformed roots induced by infection with Agrobacterium rhizogenes produced high levels of phenolic compounds such as rosmarinic acid and lithospermic acid. B.
• Antioxidant / Free Radical Scavenging Activity: In a study that established the antioxidant potency of of four medicinal and aromatic plants, H officinalis was second in DPPH-radical scavenging and first in reducing powers.
• Antibacterial: In a study of the in vitro antimicrobial activity of three plant extracts including H officinalis against B subtilis, E coli, P aeruginosa, S typhimurium and S aureus, maximum antibacterial activity was exhibited by all three plant extracts, including P aeruginosa which was not inhibited by the control antibiotic.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antiasthmatic: Study evaluated the Uygur medicine H. officinalis on T-bet, GATA-3, STAT-3 mRNA levels of asthma rats to explore the mechanisms of its treatment effect in asthma. Results showed Hyssopus officinalis probably regulates the differentiation of Th1, Th2 and Th17 on transcription level for its anti-inflammatory effect.
• Inhibition of Airway Inflammation / Immune Regulation: Study evaluated the effect of Hyssopus officinalis on airway immune regulation and airway inflammation in a mouse model of chronic asthma. Results showed H. officinalis not only plays an anti-inflammatory role by inhibiting the invasion of eosinophils and decreasing the levels of IgE, but also affects immune regulation.
• Anti-Leishmanial of Airway Inflammation / Immune Regulation: Study evaluated the alcoholic extracts of H. officinalis, Tussilage farfara, Carum copticum for in-vitro effects on Leishmania major. The plant extracts showed significant in vitro antileishmanial activities.
• Phytochemical Analysis / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the flavonoid content of aerial parts of H. officinalis. Apigenin 7-O-ß-D-glucoronide was isolated as the major flavonoid. The N-butanol extract, because of the highest phenolic content had the best antioxidant activity.
• Essential Oil of Aerial Parts / Antibacterial: Study of essential oil of aerial parts yielded thirty nine components, with major components of thymol 18,95%, ß-bisabolol 10.62%, carvacrol 7.73%, n-Dodecan (5.23%, caryophyllene 4.96%, ortho-acetanisol 4.72%, camphor 3.47%, cumin aldehyde 3.22% and spathulenol 3.02%. The oil showed high antibacterial activity against Erwinia amylovora and Klebsiella sp.
• Ulceroprotective / Antioxidant: Pretreatment with an ethanol extract of Hyssopus officinalis in ethanol-induced gastric ulcer in rats showed significant ulceroprotective and antioxidant effect.

– Cultivated.
– Wildcrafted.
– Hyssop essential oil, capsules and seeds in the cybermarket.