Drugs A - Z
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
Generic Name: Hyssopus
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Azob, bitter aperitifs, borneol, bornylacetate, caffeic acid, camphene, chartreuse, decoction of qingre huoxue (QHR), diosmin, diterpenoid, European mint, ezob (Hebrew), flavonoids, geraniol, giant-hyssop herb, herb hyssop, hesperidin, holy herb, hyssop decoction, hyssop leaf extract, hyssop oil, hyssopin, hyssopos of Dioscorides, Hyssopus ambiguus (Trautv.) Iljin, Hyssopus cretaceus Dubjan., Hyssopus cuspidatus Boriss., Hyssopus ferganensis Boriss., Hyssopus latilabiatus C.Y.Wu & H.W.Li, Hyssopus lophanthoides Buch.-Ham.ex D.Don, Hyssopus macranthus Boriss., Hyssopus ocymifolius Lam., Hyssopus officinalis, Hyssopus officinalis L., Hyssopus seravschanicus (Dub.) Pazij, Hyssopus tianschanicus Boriss, isopinocamphone, Lamiaceae (family), limonene, linalool, marrubiin, oleanolic acid, Origanum aegypticum, Origanum syriacum, phellandrene, pinene, pinocamphone, polysaccharide MAR-10, QHR, resin, tannins, terpenoids, thujone, ursolic acid, volatile oil.
The use of hyssop as an herbal remedy dates back to Biblical times. It is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible as a cleansing agent (although these references may be to other species of hyssop, such as Origanum aegypticum or Origanum syriacum, rather than Hyssopus officinalis).
Hyssop has been prescribed for a multitude of medical conditions, although there are few high-quality human trials researching these uses. It has been used traditionally as an antispasmodic, expectorant, emmenagogue (stimulates menstruation), stimulant, carminative (digestive aid), peripheral vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, anticatarrhal, antispasmodic, tonic and sweat-inducer. However, both the alcoholic extract and decoction have been used to inhibit sweating. Hyssop is used specifically for cough, bronchitis and chronic catarrh, and also for its tonic effects on the digestive, urinary, nervous and bronchial systems. Hot hyssop decoction vapors have also been used to treat inflammation and tinnitus.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Abscess (peritonsillar), anemia, antifungal, anthelminthic (expels worms), anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antitussive (preventing or reliving cough), antiviral, anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, bruises, burns, calming, cancer, cardiovascular conditions, carminative (digestive aid), catarrh (inflammation of mucous membranes), chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), circulatory disorders, common cold, cosmetic, cough, depression, diabetes mellitus type 1, diaphoretic (promotes sweating), digestive tonic, diuretic, dyspepsia (upset stomach), emmenagogue (stimulates menstruation), epilepsy, exhaustion, expectorant, fever, food flavoring, flu, gallbladder disorders, gout (foot inflammation), herpes simplex, HIV, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), hysteria, influenza, intestinal inflammation, intestinal worms, Kaposi's sarcoma, leukemia, liver conditions, melanoma, nephritis (inflamed liver), night sweats, ophthalmia (inflamed eye), perfume, peripheral vasodilator, pleurisy (inflamed membranes around the lungs), poor circulation, respiratory infections, rheumatism (painful disorder of the joints, muscles or connective tissues), rhinitis (hay fever), respiratory congestion, sedative, seizure (petit mal), sore throat, stimulant, stress, tinnitus, tonic, tonsillitis, toothache, vulnerary (wound healing).
Adults (over 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for hyssop. In general, 2 grams of dried herb infused in boiling water three times daily has been given. Avoid sustained use of hyssop oil (10 to 30 drops daily for adults) due to a slight risk of seizures.
Children (under 18 years old)
Avoid in children, due to possible seizures, as hyssop is a known convulsant.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to hyssop, any of its constituents or any related plants in the Lamiaceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
Hyssop has been reported to cause vomiting and seizures, especially at high doses. The essential oil contains the ketone pino-camphone, which is known to cause convulsions. Avoid in patients with epilepsy, fever, hypertension (high blood pressure) or pregnancy.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Hyssop is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Interactions with Drugs
Hyssop may lower the seizure threshold and, theoretically, may interact with antiepileptic medications.
Daflon® 500 (a mixture of diosmin [90%] and hesperidin [10%]) may interact additively with anti-hyperglycemic (blood sugar altering) drugs. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
A decoction of qingre huoxue, which includes hyssop, may interact additively with glucocorticoids.
Hyssop is proposed to possess immunomodulatory activity and may theoretically interact with immunosuppressant medications.
Hyssop is proposed to affect the seizure threshold and may therefore theoretically interact with medications that affect the seizure threshold.
Interactions with Herbs & Dietary Supplements
Hyssop may lower the seizure threshold, and theoretically may interact with antiepileptic herbs.
Daflon® 500 (a mixture of diosmin [90%] and hesperidin [10%]) may interact additively with anti-hyperglycemic herbs (blood sugar lowering). Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Hyssop constituents oleanolic acid and ursolic acid have recognized anti-hyperlipidemic (cholesterol lowering) properties and may interact additively with anti-hyperlipidemia herbs, such as red yeast rice.
Early studies showed that crude extracts of hyssop produced antiviral activity against herpes simplex and HIV-1. Therefore, hyssop may theoretically interact with antiviral medications.
Qingre huoxue recipe (QHR) contains hyssop and therefore may theoretically cause additive effects when taken together.
Hyssop is proposed to affect the seizure threshold and may therefore theoretically interact with herbs that affect the seizure threshold.
Hyssop is proposed to possess immunomodulatory activity and may therefore theoretically interact with immunosuppressant medications.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Tracee Rae Abrams, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Rebecca Bramwell, PharmD (Northeastern University); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Baek JH, Lee YS, Kang, CM, et al. Intracellular Ca2+ release mediates ursolic acid-induced apoptosis in human leukemic HL-60 cells. Int J Cancer 11-27-1997;73(5):725-728.
Burkhard PR, Burkhardt K, Haenggeli CA,et al. Plant-induced seizures: reappearance of an old problem. J Neurol 1999;246(8):667-670.
Cesarone MR, Belcaro G, Pellegrini L, et al. HR, 0-(beta-hydroxyethyl)-rutosides, in comparison with diosmin+hesperidin in chronic venous insufficiency and venous microangiopathy: an independent, prospective, comparative registry study. Angiology 2005;56(1):1-8.
Deng YY, Chen YP, Wang L, et al. [Clinical study on treatment of mid-advanced crescentic nephritis by qingre huoxue recipe]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 2004;24(12):1084-1086.
Es-saady D, Simon A, Ollier M, et al. Inhibitory effect of ursolic acid on B16 proliferation through cell cycle arrest. Cancer Lett. 9-10-1996;106(2):193-197.
Gollapudi S, Sharma HA, Aggarwal S, et al. Isolation of a previously unidentified polysaccharide (MAR-10) from Hyssop officinalis that exhibits strong activity against human immunodeficiency virus type 1. Biochem.Biophys.Res.Commun. 5-5-1995;210(1):145-151.
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Jie L. Pharmacology of oleanolic acid and ursolic acid. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1-2-1995;49(2-1):57-68.
Keenoy B, Vertommen J, De Leeuw I. The effect of flavonoid treatment on the glycation and antioxidant status in Type 1 diabetic patients. Diabetes Nutr Metab 1999;12(4):256-263.
Kreis W, Kaplan MH, Freeman J, et al. Inhibition of HIV replication by Hyssop officinalis extracts. Antiviral Res. 1990;14(6):323-337.
Millet Y, Jouglard J, Steinmetz MD, et al. Toxicity of some essential plant oils. Clinical and experimental study. Clin Toxicol. 1981;18(12):1485-1498.
Varga E, Hajdu Z, Veres K, et al. [Investigation of variation of the production of biological and chemical compounds of Hyssopus officinalis L.]. Acta Pharm Hung. 1998;68(3):183-188.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.