What Is Hyssop Oil

The perennial plant hyssop is native to the Mediterranean region and was considered a holy plant in biblical times. During the time of the Romans, this herb was used against the plague, as a disinfectant and for treatment of minor infections. In some parts of the world, it had a spiritual function, and was believed to purify and "forgive sins."1 Christianity held hyssop in high regard — the herb was cited as a symbol of baptism and reconciliation.2 In other religions, it is associated with purification.

The plant grows up to 60 centimeters or 2 feet high, and has a "hairy" stem with small pointy leaves and blue, purple or white flowers.3 Today, hyssop is cultivated in various parts of France for its essential oils. It is deemed one of the strongest antiviral essential oils out there because it contains nearly every type of chemical compound found in essential oils. However, the oil is still mild and gentle.

Uses of Hyssop Oil

Hyssop oil is currently used in aromatherapy to help treat problems linked to the respiratory and digestive systems. It can also be used to potentially bring relief to arthritic pain, sores, bruises, toothaches and ear pain. It also contributes to the regulation of blood pressure and acts as a calming substance for anxiety and hysteria.4

Other uses of hyssop oil are:5

Antispasmodic — Hyssop oil may help relieve spasms in the respiratory system, nervous system, muscles and intestines.

Antiseptic — When applied on wounds, it can help them from becoming infected. The essential oil can also help wounds, cuts and bruises heal faster.

Massage and bath oils — When used as either one, hyssop oil helps relieve pain and fatigue. It can also be used to address menstrual pain.

Febrifuge — This herbal oil may help lower body temperature and fever.

Cicatrisant — It is often used on skin problems, such as insect bites, rashes, boils and even (chicken) pox. It may even be used on scars to make them disappear quicker.

Stimulant — Oil of hyssop may stimulate several systems in your body. For instance, it helps stimulate your digestive system to ensure better metabolism and nutrient absorption. It is also used to stimulate the nervous, endocrine, circulatory and excretory systems.

Composition of Hyssop Oil

Research shows that the chemical composition of hyssop oil varies depending on the growth stage of the plant it is derived from.6 However, its main components include monoterpenes (cis-pinochamphone, trans-pinocamphone and beta-pinene) and sequiterpenes (germacrene and elemol).

A study from Acta Scientiarum Polonorum7 discovered that hyssop oil extracted from the herb harvested during the vegetative stages had higher levels of trans-pinocamphone, but had lower concentrations of the same compound with plant growth. The amount of cis-pinocamphone increases during the plant growth. High levels of the phytochemical pinocamphone can make the plant oil toxic.8 The oil should therefore be used in moderation (at proper dosages) with the guidance of an aromatherapy professional.

Hyssop oil derived from the herb harvested during the vegetative stage has the highest amount of beta-pinene, while the monoterpene ketones are highest in oil produced from plants when it is collected from the growth stages of the herb. For aromatherapists, pinene and monoterpene function as decongestants and are often used to loosen mucus membranes of the respiratory system.9, 10


Benefits of Hyssop Oil

Hyssop essential oil exhibits antibacterial and antifungal activity against certain trains of pathogenic organisms. One study11 found that the herbal oil showed strong antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans.

Oil of the hyssop plant also demonstrated potent antimicrobial activity against herpesvirus strains.12Apart from being an effective antimicrobial agent, hyssop essential oil may be used for the following health conditions:13

Aging-related skin problems, such as sagging and wrinkles

Muscle spasms and cramps, and acute abdominal pain

Arthritis, rheumatism, gout and inflammation

Loss of appetite, stomachaches, flatulence and indigestion


Hypotension or low blood pressure

Irregular menstrual cycles and menopause

Respiratory problems, such as colds, cough and flu