Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Herb Day ~ Hyssop ~ To Purify and Cleanse

Hyssop, to purify and cleanse. 
For this herb I am going to start with some history and background.  I am going to be pulling from various sources. 

The botanical name for Hyssop is Hyssopus officinalis.

Folk Names:  Hyssop Herb, Isopo, Ysopo, Yssop

What does it look like? 

Hyssop is an evergreen plant, this means it will be around all year long.  I have found that in my area that is best to cut it back before the snows so that it is easy to maintain when spring comes and the plant begins to grow in earnest.  The plant grows in a bush configuration reaching about 2 feet tall and about 3 feet across at the most.  The stems are woody and have thin leaves all along it.  The tops eventually get long spikes of blue-purple flowers which will attract a multitude of bees.  The plant can be spread by seeds, cuttings, or splitting. 

So what can you do with it?  I am going to quote from a very interesting tome, Culpeper' Complete Herbal.
The herb is Jupiter's, and the sign Cancer.  It strengthens all the parts of the body under Cancer and Jupiter; which what they may be, is found amply described in my astrological judgement of diseases.  Dioscorides saith, that Hyssop boiled with Rue and Honey, and drank, helps those that are troubled with coughs, shortness of breath, wheezing and rheumatic distillation upon the lungs; taken also with oxymel, it purges gross humours by stool; and with Honey, kills worms in the belly; and with fresh and new figs bruised, helps to loosen the belly, and more forcibly if the root of Flower-de-luce and cresses be added thereto.  It amends and cherishes the native colour of the body, spoiled by the yellow jaundice; and being taken with figs and nitre, helps the dropsy and spleen; being boiled with wine, it is good to wash inflammations, and takes away the black and blue spots and marks that come by strokes, bruises, or falls being applied with warm water.  It is an excellent medicine for the quinsy, or swellings in the throat, to wash and gargle it, being boiled with figs; it helps the toothache, being boiled in vinegar and gargled therewith.  The hot vapours of the decoction taken by a funnel in at the ears, eases the inflammations and singing noise of them.  Being bruised, and salt, honey, an cummin seed put to it, helps those that are stung by serpents.  The oil thereof (the head being anointed) kills lice, and takes away itching of the head.  It helps those that have the falling sickness, which way soever it be applied.  It helps to expectorate tough phlegm, and is effectual in all cold griefs or diseases of the chests or lungs, being taken either in syrup or licking medicine.  The green herb bruised and a little sugar but thereto, doth quickly heal any cut or green wounds, being thereunto applied.
From the book, The Healing Herbs.
Herpes.  Hyssop inhibits the growth of herpes simplex virus, which causes genital herpes and cold sores.  Try the infusion in a compress if you have this chronic, recurring, infection.
Cough.  Hyssop oil contains several soothing camphorlike constituents and one expectorant chemical (marrubiin), which loosens phlegm so it can be coughed up more easily.  Scientific sources agree it's a "reasonably effective" treatment for the cough and respiratory irritation of colds and flu.

Okay, I know what it is used for.  How do I use it?  Again this information is from The Healing Herb.
To make a compress, use 1 ounce of dried herb per pint of boiling water.  Steep for 15 minutes and cool.  Soak a clean cloth in the infusion and apply to cold sores and genital herpes as needed.  For an infusion, use 2 teaspoons of herb per cup of boiling water.  Steep 10 minutes.  Drink up to 3 cups a day to treat cough.  Hyssop has a strong, camphorlike smell and tastes bitter.  Add sugar, honey, or lemon, or mix it with an herbal beverage blend to improve flavor.  If you prefer a tincture, use 1 teaspoon up to three times a day.  Hyssop should not be given to children under the age 2.  For older children and people over 65, start with low strength preparations and increase strength if necessary.
The Botanical.com has a wonderful tea recipe.
'Infuse a quarter of an ounce of dried hyssop flowers in a pint of boiling water for ten minutes; sweeten with honey, and take a wineglassful three times a day, for debility of the chest. It is also considered a powerful vermifuge.' (Old Cookery Book.)

Magickal References.
Gender is of Masculine
Planet is of Jupiter
Element is of Fire
Powers are of Purification and Protection
It can be added to bath sachets, infused and sprinkled on objects or persons to cleanse them.  Sprigs of Hyssop can be hung in the home to purge it of evil and negative energies.

Spells.  Hyssop (as an herb) may be used in as an ingredient or substitute for magick spells and formulas related to Jupiter matters (growth, legal matters, luck, meditation, money, prosperity, settling legal matters, and spirituality).