HYSSOP, Hyssopus officinalis

Hyssop Herb

Throughout the History of mankind, herbs have always played an important role. Many herbs have been used for thousands of years. Then there are some herbs, like hyssop, that even go back to the beginning of recorded history. Hyssop is an herb that everyone recognizes from the bible. The word hyssop comes from the Greek work “azob’ which means “holy herb.” It has had many functions in the culture and history of mankind. Hyssop was used as a cleansing herb in religious ceremonies down until the time of Christ.

Back in Old Testament times, the pharaoh wouldn’t let the children of Israel leave Egypt. So Moses and Aaron called down many plagues on the Pharaoh and on Egypt. Still, the Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go. When the final plague was called down upon the Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the children of Israel were instructed to take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in lamb’s blood. They were then to strike or paint the lintel over the door and the two sides posts of the door so the destroyer would “pass over’ their homes. Someone asked why they were instructed to use a bunch of hyssop for their paint brush for the lamb’s blood. I don’t know. However, my guess is that hyssop, as a cleansing herb, would be symbolic of a purge or a cleanse. Hyssop would help to cleanse the house and those inside, and then protect them from harm.

In psalms 51:7 David cried to the Lord, “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean.” Undoubtedly, hyssop was used in many of their cleansing ceremonies. King David must have felt that if the Lord, with His great power, would purge him with hyssop and its great cleansing ability, that he would be made clean and acceptable in the sight of the Father.

I understand when some Levites who worked in the temple would touch something unclean like a fly or a dead insect they had to quickly leave their assignment in the temple and go clean themselves in some special way. It is possible that hyssop was used in this cleaning process or ceremony.

Hyssop is mentioned in John 19:29 when Jesus was crucified. Some say it is fitting that hyssop should be mentioned, or used, at this time as the final cleanse from this mortal life.

Hyssop is a member of the mint family with an agreeable aromatic odor or smell. It is a bushy plant that grows to a height of one or two feet. It is a perennial, shrubby plant and has square stems like most other mint plants. The leaves are linear to lanceolate, or lance shaped, and they grow impairs on opposite sides right out of the square stock. The leaves don’t have stems. The flowers grow in whorls around the upper part of the stock. There are three varieties of flowers. They are deep blue, bluish purple, or red, and they bloom from June until October.

Hyssop is a cleanser for the digestive tract, an expectorant herb that will clean out the lungs, sinus and bronchioles. It is a diuretic herb to help the kidneys, a diaphoretic herb to help the body to perspire, a stimulant to stimulate the body functions, a pectoral herb for chest or respiratory problems including asthma, a digestant to help the stomach and digestion, and hyssop has other functions, as well.

Hyssop’s camphor-like smell acts as an expectorant that helps break loose phlegm and catarrh from the bronchioles and lungs and helps drain the sinuses. When combined with horehound, it becomes more effective against colds, flu, fevers, coughs and sore throats. Hyssop is supposed to be good for cold sores or herpes, for arthritis or sore, aching muscles.
Not bad for an old-time remedy.

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