Sunday, December 30, 2012

More Magical Hyssop

If you’ve been following my Basic Magical Herbs course posts, you’ll have already read a little about Hyssop in Lesson 3. Here is some information on this fabulous herb from one of my favorite authors:

Hyssop: Nature’s Medicinal Storeroom by Susan Pesznecker in Llewellyn’s 2013 Herbal Almanac

“Hyssop (pronounced HIH-supp)…A member of the mint family, hyssop has a wide range of medicinal uses and is particularly good for winter colds and flu as well as being a potent immune stimulant.”

“Hyssop has a wide range of uses in medicinal herbalism. In ancient times, it was regarded as a general use herb that could treat or cure almost anything.”

The camphor in hyssop helps to “dilate the bronchial tree, easing breathing” while the terpene marrubin “is known to be a strong expectorant…Topically, hyssop infusions are both cleaning and stimulating, making them good for treating circulatory problems, infections, and fatigued muscles and joints…The antiseptic volatile oils in hyssop make the infusions useful in treating simple wounds and wound infections. A strong hyssop infusion also makes a relaxing, restorative bath.” (See more on herbal baths here)

“Taken orally, a hyssop infusion promots calm and relaxation and has generally sedative properties. It aids treatment of lung infections by opening the airways, stimulating mucus formation, and stimulating expectoration.”

 “[Hyssop’s] name translates with almost no change from the ancient Greek, and hyssop is mentioned in the Christian Bible (which identifies it as an herb used in cleansing holy places) and in the works and writings of many ancient and medieval herbalists including Hippocrates, Dioscordes and Galen.
“Hippocrates mentioned hyssop to treat pleurisy and lung congestion, and both Dioscorides and Galen likewise recorded its use for asthma and a number of other respiratory conditions.”
“From the ancient Greeks to medieval folk practitioners, hyssop was regarded as an ideal herb for purification, protection, and cleansing.”

Magical uses include:

  • Being hung in bunches for protection against the evil eye
  • Being used for smudging
  • The Catholics of today use hyssop in the aspergillum to purify with holy water

In cooking and beverage:

  • The ancient Romans used hyssop in an intoxicating and fragrant wine
  • It is one of the main herbal constituents of Absinthe
  • Medieval folks used it to preserve meat (or just hide the smell of slow spoilage)

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