DRUGS AND SUPPLEMENTS

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

March 22, 2017

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Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.

While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • Azob, bitter aperitifs, borneol, bornylacetate, caffeic acid, camphene, chartreuse, decoction of qingre huoxue (QHR), diosmin, diterpenoid, European mint, ezob (Hebrew), flavonoids, geraniol, giant-hyssop herb, herb hyssop, hesperidin, holy herb, hyssop decoction, hyssop leaf extract, hyssop oil, hyssopin, hyssopos of Dioscorides, Hyssopus ambiguus (Trautv.) Iljin, Hyssopus cretaceus Dubjan., Hyssopus cuspidatus Boriss., Hyssopus ferganensis Boriss., Hyssopus latilabiatus C.Y.Wu & H.W.Li, Hyssopus lophanthoides Buch.-Ham.ex D.Don, Hyssopus macranthus Boriss., Hyssopus ocymifolius Lam., Hyssopus officinalis, Hyssopus officinalis L., Hyssopus seravschanicus (Dub.) Pazij, Hyssopus tianschanicus Boriss, isopinocamphone, Lamiaceae (family), limonene, linalool, marrubiin, oleanolic acid, Origanum aegypticum, Origanum syriacum, phellandrene, pinene, pinocamphone, polysaccharide MAR-10, QHR, resin, tannins, terpenoids, thujone, ursolic acid, volatile oil.

Background

  • The use of hyssop as an herbal remedy dates back to Biblical times. It is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible as a cleansing agent (although these references may be to other species of hyssop, such as Origanum aegypticum or Origanum syriacum, rather than Hyssopus officinalis).

  • Hyssop has been prescribed for a multitude of medical conditions, although there are few high-quality human trials researching these uses. It has been used traditionally as an antispasmodic, expectorant, emmenagogue (stimulates menstruation), stimulant, carminative (digestive aid), peripheral vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, anticatarrhal, antispasmodic, tonic and sweat-inducer. However, both the alcoholic extract and decoction have been used to inhibit sweating. Hyssop is used specifically for cough, bronchitis and chronic catarrh, and also for its tonic effects on the digestive, urinary, nervous and bronchial systems. Hot hyssop decoction vapors have also been used to treat inflammation and tinnitus.

Scientific Evidence

Uses

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Grade*

No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.

*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).

Tradition/Theory

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.

  • Abscess (peritonsillar), anemia, antifungal, anthelminthic (expels worms), anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antitussive (preventing or reliving cough), antiviral, anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, bruises, burns, calming, cancer, cardiovascular conditions, carminative (digestive aid), catarrh (inflammation of mucous membranes), chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), circulatory disorders, common cold, cosmetic, cough, depression, diabetes mellitus type 1, diaphoretic (promotes sweating), digestive tonic, diuretic, dyspepsia (upset stomach), emmenagogue (stimulates menstruation), epilepsy, exhaustion, expectorant, fever, food flavoring, flu, gallbladder disorders, gout (foot inflammation), herpes simplex, HIV, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), hysteria, influenza, intestinal inflammation, intestinal worms, Kaposi's sarcoma, leukemia, liver conditions, melanoma, nephritis (inflamed liver), night sweats, ophthalmia (inflamed eye), perfume, peripheral vasodilator, pleurisy (inflamed membranes around the lungs), poor circulation, respiratory infections, rheumatism (painful disorder of the joints, muscles or connective tissues), rhinitis (hay fever), respiratory congestion, sedative, seizure (petit mal), sore throat, stimulant, stress, tinnitus, tonic, tonsillitis, toothache, vulnerary (wound healing).

Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (over 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for hyssop. In general, 2 grams of dried herb infused in boiling water three times daily has been given. Avoid sustained use of hyssop oil (10 to 30 drops daily for adults) due to a slight risk of seizures.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • Avoid in children, due to possible seizures, as hyssop is a known convulsant.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to hyssop, any of its constituents or any related plants in the Lamiaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Hyssop has been reported to cause vomiting and seizures, especially at high doses. The essential oil contains the ketone pino-camphone, which is known to cause convulsions. Avoid in patients with epilepsy, fever, hypertension (high blood pressure) or pregnancy.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Hyssop is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Hyssop may lower the seizure threshold and, theoretically, may interact with antiepileptic medications.

  • Daflon® 500 (a mixture of diosmin [90%] and hesperidin [10%]) may interact additively with anti-hyperglycemic (blood sugar altering) drugs. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.

  • Hyssop constituents oleanolic acid and ursolic acid have recognized anti-hyperlipidemic (cholesterol lowering) properties and may interact additively with anti-hyperlipidemia drugs.

  • Early studies showed that crude extracts of hyssop produced antiviral activity against herpes simplex and HIV-1. Therefore, hyssop may theoretically interact with antiviral medications.

  • A decoction of qingre huoxue, which includes hyssop, may interact additively with glucocorticoids.

  • Hyssop is proposed to possess immunomodulatory activity and may theoretically interact with immunosuppressant medications.

  • Hyssop is proposed to affect the seizure threshold and may therefore theoretically interact with medications that affect the seizure threshold.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Hyssop may lower the seizure threshold, and theoretically may interact with antiepileptic herbs.

  • Daflon® 500 (a mixture of diosmin [90%] and hesperidin [10%]) may interact additively with anti-hyperglycemic herbs (blood sugar lowering). Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.

  • Hyssop constituents oleanolic acid and ursolic acid have recognized anti-hyperlipidemic (cholesterol lowering) properties and may interact additively with anti-hyperlipidemia herbs, such as red yeast rice.

  • Early studies showed that crude extracts of hyssop produced antiviral activity against herpes simplex and HIV-1. Therefore, hyssop may theoretically interact with antiviral medications.

  • Qingre huoxue recipe (QHR) contains hyssop and therefore may theoretically cause additive effects when taken together.

  • Hyssop is proposed to affect the seizure threshold and may therefore theoretically interact with herbs that affect the seizure threshold.

  • Hyssop is proposed to possess immunomodulatory activity and may therefore theoretically interact with immunosuppressant medications.

Author Information

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Baek JH, Lee YS, Kang, CM, et al. Intracellular Ca2+ release mediates ursolic acid-induced apoptosis in human leukemic HL-60 cells. Int J Cancer 11-27-1997;73(5):725-728. View Abstract

  2. Burkhard PR, Burkhardt K, Haenggeli CA,et al. Plant-induced seizures: reappearance of an old problem. J Neurol 1999;246(8):667-670. View Abstract

  3. Cesarone MR, Belcaro G, Pellegrini L, et al. HR, 0-(beta-hydroxyethyl)-rutosides, in comparison with diosmin+hesperidin in chronic venous insufficiency and venous microangiopathy: an independent, prospective, comparative registry study. Angiology 2005;56(1):1-8. View Abstract

  4. Deng YY, Chen YP, Wang L, et al. [Clinical study on treatment of mid-advanced crescentic nephritis by qingre huoxue recipe]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 2004;24(12):1084-1086. View Abstract

  5. Es-saady D, Simon A, Ollier M, et al. Inhibitory effect of ursolic acid on B16 proliferation through cell cycle arrest. Cancer Lett. 9-10-1996;106(2):193-197. View Abstract

  6. Gollapudi S, Sharma HA, Aggarwal S, et al. Isolation of a previously unidentified polysaccharide (MAR-10) from Hyssop officinalis that exhibits strong activity against human immunodeficiency virus type 1. Biochem.Biophys.Res.Commun. 5-5-1995;210(1):145-151. View Abstract

  7. Hoffmann D. Therapeutic herbalism. A correspondence course in phytotherapy. 1995;4:64-65.

  8. Jantet G. RELIEF study: first consolidated European data. Reflux assEssment and quaLity of lIfe improvement with micronized Flavonoids. Angiology 2000;51(1):31-37. View Abstract

  9. Jie L. Pharmacology of oleanolic acid and ursolic acid. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1-2-1995;49(2-1):57-68.

  10. Keenoy B, Vertommen J, De Leeuw I. The effect of flavonoid treatment on the glycation and antioxidant status in Type 1 diabetic patients. Diabetes Nutr Metab 1999;12(4):256-263. View Abstract

  11. Kreis W, Kaplan MH, Freeman J, et al. Inhibition of HIV replication by Hyssop officinalis extracts. Antiviral Res. 1990;14(6):323-337. View Abstract

  12. Millet Y, Jouglard J, Steinmetz MD, et al. Toxicity of some essential plant oils. Clinical and experimental study. Clin Toxicol. 1981;18(12):1485-1498. View Abstract

  13. Varga E, Hajdu Z, Veres K, et al. [Investigation of variation of the production of biological and chemical compounds of Hyssopus officinalis L.]. Acta Pharm Hung. 1998;68(3):183-188. View Abstract

Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

Updated:  

March 22, 2017