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Scientific Name(s): Hyssopus officinalis L.
Common Name(s): Ezov, Hyssop, Hyssopus

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 1, 2021.

Clinical Overview


Toxic effects of hyssop essential oil limit therapeutic applications. Hyssop has many traditional uses, but there are no clinical trial data supporting such uses.


No clinical evidence is available to determine hyssop dosing recommendations.


Contraindications have not been identified.


Avoid use. Adverse effects have been documented.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Information is limited; case reports of seizures exist.


No data.

Scientific Family

  • Labiatae (mint)
  • Lamiaceae


Hyssop is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean that has been imported to and naturalized in the United States and Canada. It grows along roadsides and is sometimes found as a garden herb, growing to approximately 0.6 m in height. Its thin pointed leaves extend onto a central herbaceous stem that is sessile in form. The small blue tubular flowers grow from the upper leaf axils and bloom from July to October. The fruit contains 4 nutlets, each having one seed, and the plant has an aromatic camphor-like scent.(Duke 2002, Khan 2010, USDA 2021)

A number of other common plants found in North America go by variations of the name "hyssop." These include giant hyssop (Agastache spp.), hedgehyssop (Gratiola officinalis L.), and waterhyssop (Bacopa spp.); none of these plants are members of the genus Hyssopus, nor are they all members of the family Lamiaceae.(USDA 2021)


In ancient times, the hyssop plant was used in religious rituals and as an insecticide, insect repellent, and pediculicide; however, there is little evidence that mentions of "hyssop" in the Bible actually refer to H. officinalis.(De Luca 2011, Duke 2002, Harrison 1954) The plant has been used in herbal medicine as an expectorant and for the treatment of sore throats, colds, and hoarseness. Some herbalists also believe that hyssop has beneficial effects in asthma, urinary tract inflammation, lack of appetite, gas, and colic. Extracts of the plant have been used in perfumes and soaps and to flavor liqueurs, sauces, puddings, and candies.(Duke 2002, Khan 2010)


As a member of the mint family, hyssop contains a number of fragrant, volatile components. The plant contains up to 2% of a volatile oil,(Khan 2010) primarily composed of pinocamphone, isopinocamphone, alpha- and beta-pinene, camphene, and alpha-terpinene.(De Martino 2009)

Other constituents of the plant include glycosides (hyssopin as well as the flavonoid glycosides hesperidin and diosmine), tannin 5% to 8%, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, beta-sitosterol, marrubiin, and resins. Crude hyssop also contains rosmarinic acid 0.5% and total hydroxycinnamic derivatives 2.2%.(De Martino 2009, Khan 2010) Flavonoids with antioxidant activity have been identified.(Fathiazad 2011)

Uses and Pharmacology

Antimicrobial/Antiviral activity

Animal data

Antibacterial and antiviral activities have been described for leaf extracts and the essential oil of hyssop. In vitro studies showed antibacterial activity against several human pathogens(De Martino 2009); however, the preservative effect of hyssop added to ground beef was limited.(Michalczyk 2012)

In vitro antiviral activity has been investigated against herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2(Koch 2008, Schnitzler 2007) and HIV,(Kreis 1990) with some studies suggesting the effect is limited to the viral envelope(Koch 2008) and hence ineffective against nonenveloped viruses such as human norovirus.(Kovač 2012)

Antioxidant activity

In vitro and experimental data

The genoprotective activity of hyssop aerial parts suggests potential use as a possible functional food for oxidative stress–induced disease prevention.(Borrelli 2019)

H. officinalis has demonstrated good antioxidant activity; use as an alternative to nitrites as curing agents for pork products has been suggested.(Zając 2020)


Animal data

Asthmatic mice treated with hyssop extract (0.04 g per 10 g) had decreased airway remodeling and fewer symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, anxiety, and cyanosis.(Ma 2014) A decrease in symptoms and changes in various disease marker proteins were similar to the group treated with dexamethasone. The same research group used the same treatments to examine immune effects and noted that asthmatic mice treated with hyssop had reductions in mucus secretion and reductions in immunoglobulin E (IgE) and IgG similar to the improvements observed in the dexamethasone group.(Ma 2014)


Animal data

Inhalation of hyssop essential oil demonstrated sedative effects in agitated (caffeine-stimulated) mice.(Lim 2005) Commercial preparations of hyssop essential oils produced convulsions in rats at 0.13 g/kg and death at 1.25 g/kg.(Millet 1981) In another rat model of pentylenetetrazole-induced tonic-clonic seizures, hyssop extract 100 mg/kg intraperitoneally was found to have anticonvulsant activity.(Gholami 2020)


Animal data

Limited experiments suggest an extract of the dried leaves of hyssop contains glucopyranosides that appear to have alpha-glucosidase inhibitory activity capable of reducing postprandial hyperglycemia.(Matsuura 2004, Miyazaki 2003) A study of diabetic rats determined that H. officinalis exerts hypoglycemic potential via modulating C-fos, GSK-3beta, NF-kappa B, TNF-alpha, ABCA1, and ABCG1 gene expression and signaling pathways, suggesting a possible role in type 2 diabetes mellitus treatment.(Abdel-Megeed 2020)

Other uses

Potential chemopreventive and immunostimulant in vitro effects are worthy of further investigations.(Venditti 2015)


No clinical evidence is available to determine hyssop dosing recommendations.

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Hyssop has emmenagogue and abortifacient effects.Ernst 2002, Quattrocchi 2012


Reports are lacking.

Adverse Reactions

Research reveals little information regarding adverse reactions with hyssop use. Hyssop oil was nonirritating to the skin in animal and human studies.(Khan 2010) Older case reports of seizures related to consumption of hyssop and sage oils exist.(Burkhard 1999, Millet 1981)


In rats, commercial preparations of hyssop essential oils produced convulsions at 0.13 g/kg and death at 1.25 g/kg. Case reports of seizures in adults and children exist. The neurotoxicity of hyssop appears to be related to 2 terpene ketones, pinocamphone and isopinocamphone; other monoterpenes with similar chemical structures, such as camphor, thujone, and cineole, are known to have epileptogenic properties.(Burkhard 1999, Millet 1981)

A study using hyssop in combination with other herbs in horse feed showed no differences in hematologic or biochemical parameters compared with placebo feed.(Pearson 2007)



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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Abdel-Megeed RM, El Newary SA, Kadry MO, et al. Hyssopus officinalis exerts hypoglycemic effects on streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats via modulating GSK-3β, C-fos, NF-κB, ABCA1 and ABGA1 gene expression. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2020;19(1):483-491. doi:10.1007/s40200-020-00535-y32550200
Borrelli F, Pagano E, Formisano C, et al. Hyssopus officinalis subsp. aristatus: an unexploited wild-growing crop for new disclosed bioactives. Industrial Crops and Products. 2019;140:111594. doi:10.1016/j.indcrop.2019.111594
Burkhard PR, Burkhardt K, Haenggeli CA, Landis T. Plant-induced seizures: reappearance of an old problem. J Neurol. 1999;246(8):667-670. doi:10.1007/s00415005042910460442
De Luca LM, Norum KR. Scurvy and cloudberries: a chapter in the history of nutritional sciences. J Nutr. 2011;141(12):2101-2105. doi:10.3945/jn.111.14533422013203
De Martino L, De Feo V, Nazzaro F. Chemical composition and in vitro antimicrobial and mutagenic activities of seven Lamiaceae essential oils. Molecules. 2009;14(10):4213-4230. doi:10.3390/molecules1410421319924059
Duke J, Bogenschutz-Godwin M, duCellier J, Duke PK. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. 2nd ed. CRC Press; 2002.
Ernst E. Herbal medicinal products during pregnancy: are they safe? BJOG. 2002;109(3):227-235. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2002.t01-1-01009.x11950176
Fathiazad F, Mazandarani M, Hamedeyazdan S. Phytochemical analysis and antioxidant activity of Hyssopus officinalis L. from Iran. Adv Pharm Bull. 2011;1(2):63-67. doi:10.5681/apb.2011.00924312758
Gholami M, Jafari F, Baradaran Z, Amri J, Azhdari-Zarmehri H, Sadegh M. Effects of aqueous extract of Hyssopus officinalis on seizures induced by pentylenetetrazole and hippocampus mRNA level of iNOS in rats. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2020;10(3):213-221.32523876
Harrison RK. The Biblical problem of hyssop. The Evangelical Quarterly. 1954;26(4):218-224.
Hyssopus officinalis L. USDA, NRCS. 2021. The PLANTS Database (, 22 June 2021). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
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Kovač K, Diez-Valcarce M, Raspor P, Hernández M, Rodríguez-Lázaro D. Natural plant essential oils do not inactivate non-enveloped enteric viruses. Food Environ Virol. 2012;4(4):209-212. doi:10.1007/s12560-012-9088-723412892
Kreis W, Kaplan MH, Freeman J, Sun DK, Sarin PS. Inhibition of HIV replication by Hyssop officinalis extracts. Antiviral Res. 1990;14(6):323-337. doi:10.1016/0166-3542(90)90051-81708226
Lim WC, Seo JM, Lee CI, Pyo HB, Lee BC. Stimulative and sedative effects of essential oils upon inhalation in mice. Arch Pharm Res. 2005;28(7):770-774. doi:10.1007/BF0297734116114490
Ma X, Ma X, Ma Z, et al. Effect of Hyssopus officinalis L. on inhibiting airway inflammation and immune regulation on a chronic asthmatic mouse model. Exp Ther Med. 2014;8(5):1371-1374. doi:10.3892/etm.2014.197825289025
Ma X, Ma X, Ma Z, et al. The effects of Uygur herb Hyssopus officinalis L. on the process of airway remodeling in asthmatic mice. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:710870. doi:10.1155/2014/71087025383084
Matsuura H, Miyazaki H, Asakawa C, Amano M, Yoshihara T, Mizutani J. Isolation of alpha-glusosidase inhibitors from hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis). Phytochemistry. 2004;65(1):91-97. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2003.10.00914697274
Michalczyk M, Macura R, Tesarowicz I, Banaś J. Effect of adding essential oils of coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) and hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis L.) on the shelf life of ground beef. Meat Sci. 2012;90(3):842-850. doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2011.11.02622153611
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Miyazaki H, Matsuura H, Yanagiya C, Mizutani J, Tsuji M, Ishihara C. Inhibitory effects of hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) extracts on intestinal alpha-glucosidase activity and postprandial hyperglycemia. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2003;49(5):346-349. doi:10.3177/jnsv.49.34614703310
Pearson W, Charch A, Brewer D, Clarke AF. Pilot study investigating the ability of an herbal composite to alleviate clinical signs of respiratory dysfunction in horses with recurrent airway obstruction. Can J Vet Res. 2007;71(2):145-151.17479778
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Schnitzler P, Koch C, Reichling J. Susceptibility of drug-resistant clinical herpes simplex virus type 1 strains to essential oils of ginger, thyme, hyssop, and sandalwood. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007;51(5):1859-1862. doi:10.1128/AAC.00426-0617353250
Venditti A, Bianco A, Frezza C, et al. Essential oil composition, polar compounds, glandular trichomes and biological activity of Hyssopus officinalis subsp. aristatus (Godr.) Nyman from central Italy. Industrial Crops and Products. 2015;77:353-363.
Zając M, Duda I, Skoczylas Ł, Tabaszewska M. Potential use of Hyssopus officinalis and Borago officinalis as curing ingredients in pork meat formulations. Animals (Basel). 2020;10(12):2327. doi:10.3390/ani1012232733297565

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