Hyssop: keys to its cultivation and medicinal properties

An interesting part of agriculture is that destined to the study and cultivation of medicinal plants . This type of plants are so named since they contain active principles (terpenes, alkaloids, polyphenols, etc.) and essential oils that produce a positive impact when applied to human beings.

One of these medicinal herbs is hyssop, which has shown its full potential in several scientific studies and today extracts and oils from parts of the plant are marketed.

In this cultivation sheet we want to unravel everything that hyssop can provide us as a medicinal plant, as well as know its cultivation characteristics and the possible medicinal properties that those who use it support so much.


Hyssop is considered a herbaceous plant with a semi-shrubby habit, with an average size between 30 and 60 cm in height. The main stems are quite lignified, hence many botanists consider it a shrub.

Hyssop is highly adapted to the Mediterranean climate and can be found in southern Europe, coastal areas, and the Middle East. It offers a great aroma to the touch, which is why it is also used in aromatherapy and as an ingredient in the preparation of soaps, perfumes and cosmetic products.

It also has ornamental uses, being able to grow in pots or directly in the garden, since it is considered a rustic plant of great resistance. In addition, in summer it produces a very interesting pink or purplish bloom similar to that of lavender .


  • Order:  Lamiales
  • Familia: Lamiaceae
  • Género: Hyssopus
  • Especie: Hyssopus officinalis

Its use as a medicinal plant has been carried out since pre-classical antiquity . It appears in several sacred books such as the Gospel of Saint John or the Hebraic Tanakh. However, due to the flowering it produces, it has aptitude as an ornamental plant for the garden, where we are going to comment on the main requirements of its cultivation.

Hyssop bloom



Hyssop is considered a rustic plant, resistant to inclement weather and water scarcity. In fact, it can grow spontaneously and wild in stony areas and not very fertile soils.

It adapts very well to changes in temperature and withstands both cold and very hot temperatures. Its optimum develops in very hot summers and colder winters.

It supports all types of environmental humidity , even the sea breezes of coastal environments, where it grows easily and without any type of problem.

it tolerates both clay-sandy soils, as well as loamy and calcareous soils, provided they have good drainage. It requires a lot of sun and warm weather.


Hyssopus officinalis can be grown in all types of soils, although a sandy or silty texture that offers good drainage and ease of root development is preferable . It can be planted in clay soils, but we will have to control the water supply very well to avoid flooding.

Its ideal pH is that offered by limestone soils , with a pH above 7 and easy availability of calcium and magnesium.


The hyssop is used to the scarcity of water, although in the warmer months we can provide irrigation to improve its development and avoid such a creeping behavior. In general, in summer and the hottest months we can carry out 1 watering per week, at least, with a contribution of between 5 and 10 L per adult plant and irrigation.

In winter, except for very hot climates, no water is usually added.


The contribution of fertilizers is only reserved for very poor soils and focused on ornamental plants where we want to improve flowering. We can provide liquid or solid fertilizers with a NPK 2-1-3 ratio and micronutrients.

For a small plant size such as hyssop, we will add 50-100 gr of granulated fertilizer well distributed around the main stem. Slowly and with the humidity that the plant receives, the granules will dissolve and release the nutrients.

Depending on the development of the plant, we will repeat the application in mid-summer, depending on the development we want to obtain from the plant.


One of the easiest ways to reproduce swabs is by seed. The sowing period is long and is between autumn and spring after obtaining the seeds. It can be done indoors and at protected temperatures, or wait for warmer spring months.

We can also obtain plants identical to the mother by cutting, selecting slightly lignified stems of about 10 cm in length and planting them in a pot with half peat and half coconut fiber substrate to activate the emergence of new roots. This substrate must always be moistened.


Hyssop ( Hyssopus officinalis ) essential oil  is made from the flowers and leaves of the plant that bear the same name. Although the whole plant is intensely aromatic, it is preferably harvested in the flowering season to take advantage of the  flowering  tops; under optimal conditions a harvest can be obtained in late spring and another in early fall.


  • Tannins
  • Volatile oils: Pinoamphene, cineole, ß-pinene
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenolic compounds: caffeic and rosmarinic acid.
  • Bicyclic monoterpenes: L-pinoamphene, isopinocamphene and pinocarvone.
  • triterpenoid acids: oleanolic acid and ursolic acid.
  • Diosmina
  • Disometina


Although in ancient times the crushed extract of hyssop was used to soothe the respiratory tract, today it is still used due to the oils related to menthol, which soothes the respiratory tract and improves breathing when we suffer from congestion.


The oil of this plant can act as a natural antibiotic to fight certain infections, according to several scientific studies. This activity has also been observed in other plants such as anise, thyme , ginger, chamomile and sandalwood, among others. These oils are interesting in topical application given their activity as virucidal agents for the treatment of different types of herpes.


In 2014 , a study was carried out in mice where it was found that the extract of the hyssop plant had antioxidant activity against free radicals that cause cellular oxidation. As far as is known, this medicinal plant plays an important role as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the invasion of DED and lowering IgE levels, but it also affects immune regulation.


The plant extract has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, so it can be used to treat mild skin irritation, such as minor burns, healing scars, or small cuts.

hyssop essential oil can be used in application to the skin through compresses moistened with the extract, bath with hyssop soap or by means of diffusers of the vapors.

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