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Hyssop engravingHyssopus officinalis
This aromatic native of southern Europe was spread throughout the continent by the Roman army. This magick herb is also native to central Asia as far as the Western Himalayas. Its camphorous minty smell is great in potpourri and has long associated it with purification and cleanliness. Because of its effectiveness at purification, it is considered a Jupiter herb, even though it is not especially tall or imposing as a plant (Agrippa considers it a Moon plant). This magick herb is still a part of purification in ceremonial magick (see Book 2, Ch. 11 of Key of Solomon). Its protective nature is exemplified in the Hebrew Bible; hyssop branches were used as brushes to smear door lintels with lamb's blood so that the Angel of Death would pass by those homes (although some people believe that the biblical hyssop was actually a variety of oregano). John Baptist Porta's seventeenth-century book on natural magick cites hyssop as helpful in turning away the evil eye, and in Sicily it is still used this way. In Europe, sprigs are hung up around the house to keep away evil and negativity, and contemporary Pagans sprinkle an infusion of hyssop around the house or person for protection. I now have a small amount of an especially fragrant, pure white flowered hyssop that I grew myself. I hope to have much more of this seed this fall. I think the white flowers emphasize the Moon qualities of this herb. Top

Hyssop engraving2 Herbalism. This bitter herb is considered a good cleanser of the body, especially the lungs. In the "Dark" Ages, it was strewn in the sickroom to fight illness and in the kitchen to combat cooking odors. A bag of hyssop in the bath will soothe itchy skin. Hyssop flower essence helps in dealing with unnecessary guilt, shame, fear of being judged, perfectionism, and damaged self-esteem; it helps undo irrational self-blame and eases animals that have been disciplined harshly in the past. Since Elizabethan times, an infusion of the chopped leaves has been used as a wash to get rid of headlice--especially helpful for people whose kids keep bringing these critters home from school with them. Head washing with an infusion and nitpicking should continue for several days. A gargle of hyssop and sage sweetened with honey is an old treatment for sore throats, and hyssop tea works as an expectorant for asthma and coughs. A poultice of the leaves kills the pain of bruises and prevents black-and-blue marks. Like many aromatic herbs, hyssop has antiviral properties, and it shows particular promise against HIV and herpes. Tops and flowers are high in iodine, so avoid them if you have problems with that element, as in goiter. This herb goes into liquers like Benedictine and Chartreuse, and the flowers make a nice edible garnish. Top

Hyssop blueIn the Garden. Hyssop is wonderful for lining paths, where brushing against it will release its aroma, and interplanting it with members of the cabbage family will help keep cabbage moths and aphids away. It's a wonderful to medieval or cottage gardens. This perennial herb grows throughout the temperate areas of North America (zones 3-9). It gets 18-24 inches/60 cm high and forms a small shrub with blue, pink, or white flowers beloved by bees and hummingbirds. The flowers appear on the square stems in late summer and once it is established, start blooming in early spring. The whole plant is aromatic. Top

Hyssop, whiteHow to grow hyssop: The fastest way to germinate this seed is with the baggie method. Wet a paper towel and wring out. "Sow" the seeds in 1/4 of the paper towel and then fold it up into eighths, pressing it gently. Put in a cheap baggie and don't close the top. Leave in indirect light at room temperature, and check for germination after a couple days. Seeds germinate within a week. Then tear up the paper towel into pieces and gently press them seed side up into your potting medium or jiffy pellet. Grow on and harden off, then transplant outside. Or you can follow more traditional methods and Barely cover seeds to germinate in 3-4 weeks at room temperature. Seeds will germinate slowly. Harden off and transplant to full sun or partial shade.  Growers usually start this 10 weeks before the last frost to have a jump on the season. Hyssop can also be grown in pots. Once established, it can be propagated by root division in fall or by rooting cuttings in the summer. On or close to Full Moon, harvest leaves before the plant flowers in the morning after the dew is off. Harvest flowers when they are almost completely open. Dry upside down in bunches, then strip off leaves and flowers and store in airtight container away from light. Prune after flowering to make a more compact plant, & mulch for winter in coldest climates. General growing info Top


Hyssopus officinalis
Hyssop (mixture of blue, pink, and white flowers)
300 seeds $3.75


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Protection Spells
Strewing Herb
Jupiter Herb
Medieval Garden Plant

Get some dried hyssop

2004, 2017 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission