Hyssopus officinalis Open-pollinated. Beautiful aromatic perennial border plant that produces spikes of indigo flowers, traditionally used in cough syrups. Interplant with rosemary and lavender for a colorful and fragrant effect. Its pleasantly skunky aroma stimulates alertness and mental clarity. Was used as a strewing herb, thrown on floors to mask odors. Add slightly bitter leaves to salads, soups and stews, or use as an expectorant tea. People with epilepsy and pregnant women avoid use. Dry light or sandy soil. Normally hardy to Zone 3, but we have had significant losses in very harsh winters. ~850 seeds/g. Especially attractive to pollinators.②
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See Herb Chart in the sidebar for uses and cultural information.
About medicinal herbs: Archeological evidence dates the medicinal use of herbs back 60,000 years to the Neanderthals. 85% of the world’s population employ herbs as medicines, and 40% of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. contain plant-derived materials. Fewer than 10% of higher plant species have been investigated for their medicinal components. Interest in traditional herbal remedies continues to grow.
Statements about medicinal use of plants have not been evaluated by the FDA, and should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any ailment. Before using or ingesting any medicinal plant, consult a healthcare practitioner familiar with botanical medicine.
Using herbs: Drying herbs at home is not difficult. Whole leaves retain their flavor at least a year. To substitute fresh herbs for dried in cooking, use triple the dried quantity called for in a recipe.
Culture: Some herbs are customarily grown from divisions because they cannot come true from seed, such as scented thymes and flavored mints. Some require fall sowing of fresh seed, such as sweet cicely and angelica, and these become available in August or September.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.