Hyssop – Hyssop officinalis
Hyssop Powder is the crushed material of a herbaceous plant that is native to the Middle East, Southern Europe, and areas around the Caspian Sea. It is commonly used by beekeepers to make an aromatic honey. The oil is used in aromatherapy and as a refreshing diffuser.
Hyssop is a brightly coloured shrub or subshrub that ranges from 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 in) in height. The stem is woody at the base, from which grow a number of straight branches. Its leaves are lanceolate, dark green in colour, and from 2 to 2.5 cm (0.79 to 0.98 in) long. During the summer, the plant produces bunches of pink, blue, or, more rarely, white fragrant flowers. These give rise to small oblong achenes.
A plant of similar name has been in use since classical antiquity. Its name is a direct adaptation from the Greek ὕσσωπος (hyssopos). The Hebrew word אזוב (ezov, esov, or esob) and the Greek word ὕσσωπος probably share a common (but unknown) origin. The name hyssop appears as a translation of ezov in some translations of the Bible, notably in verse 7 of Psalm 51: “Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” (King James Bible), but researchers have suggested that the Biblical accounts refer not to the plant currently known as hyssop but rather to one of a number of different herbs, including Origanum syriacum (Syrian oregano, commonly referred to as “bible hyssop”). I Kings iv. 33 mentions that ‘ezov’ was a small plant. It was burned with the Red Heifer (Num. xix. 6) and used for purification of lepers (Lev. xiv. 4, 6, 49, 51; comp. Num. xix. 18; Ps. li. 9), and at Passover hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood of the sacrificial lamb on the doorposts(Ex. xii. 22).
Country of origin: eastern Europe
Safety: Hyssop should be avoided in pregnancy and those with a history of seizures.