« back to encyclopedia search results
Hyssop (hyssopus officinalis)
A Mediterranean herb of the labiatae family, so related to mint. It has blue, white or pink flowers (depending on variety), elongated leaves, and stems that are shrubby near the ground but herbaceous above. It was taken by early settlers to the New World to use as tea, herbal tobacco and as an antiseptic. The mould that produces penicillin grows on its leaves; this may have acted as an antibiotic protection when lepers bathed in hyssop. See 'Hyssop, Culinary uses'; 'Hyssop, Medicinal uses'