Hyssop is legendary in the alternative medicine world. The herbal plant has been used in medicine since the time of the Ancient Greeks. It’s been used for everything from an antiseptic and household cleaner to an expectorant and a weight loss tea. Here, we’ll cut through the noise and show you everything you need to know about hyssop tea, from its flavor profile to its health benefits and side effects.
Hyssop is a plant that is native to the Middle East and Southern Europe. It features purple and pink flowers and leaves that offer a slightly bitter flavor thanks to a high concentration of tannins and catechins. The plant is often used in cooking, as a tea, and to flavor liqueur such as Chartreuse. The plant is also commonly used in alternative medicine and was used as a medicinal herb in Ancient Greek times. There are two types of hyssop plant used to make tea: Hyssop officinalis and Agastache foeniculum, also known by the common name anise hyssop.
The hyssop plant is a member of the mint family and the leaves offer an intense minty aroma. True hyssop tea —made using Hyssop Officinalis leaves — has hints of minty flavor and a mildly bitter aftertaste. Anise hyssop tea blends hints of licorice and mint with an undertone of fennel seed flavors.
The common cold and flu can cause a host of symptoms ranging from sore throat and stuffy nose to difficulty breathing and chest congestion. Drinking hyssop tea may help to ease those symptoms and help you feel normal again. Drinking tea can help to decrease stress and its anti-inflammatory properties help to lessen inflammation that can cause chest congestion and coughing. Drinking tea is also a great way to stay hydrated, an important component of any healing process (1).
Hyssop tea can be used in place of a salt-water gargle to help ease the pain of a sore throat. It may also work as a mild expectorant for respiratory infections, helping to loosen phlegm that causes throat irritation and difficulty breathing (2). Hyssop tea may also be beneficial for supporting overall immune system health and has been researched as a tool in the fight against HIV with promising results (3).
Drinking hyssop tea may help support overall women’s health and research shows it may be an effective treatment for urinary tract infections and easing the pain of menstrual cramps. Small studies have shown that hyssop has natural anti-inflammatory effects that may help to relax muscles (4). Drinking hyssop tea may help to decrease inflammation and ease menstrual cramps or other muscle cramps. Alternative healthcare practitioners have also been using hyssop as a treatment for UTI for decades, though modern medicine hasn’t confirmed those benefits.
Hyssop tea may offer mild benefits for heart health, mainly by decreasing inflammation and improving circulation, which helps to decrease the risk of heart attack, blood clots, and blood sugar related disorders. As circulation improves, and inflammation decreases, blood vessels become less restricted, helping to lower blood pressure and support overall heart health. Research is ongoing into the use of hyssop herb and hyssop essential oil in the treatment of heart conditions, though there are thus far no conclusive results.
Drinking hyssop tea may help you get the most out of your diet and exercise regimen when you’re trying to lose weight. First, hyssop tea is a great replacement for people who are looking to swap out calorie-heavy soft drinks and sugary juices. It also has more taste than water and fewer calories compared to flavorings used for most beverages. Small studies have shown that hyssop consumption may also be correlated with a loss of appetite (5). Drinking the herbal tea before a meal may help make you feel full faster so you consume fewer calories at each meal.
Hyssop tea triggers the production of bile, which signals the body to begin digestive processes. The bile contains enzymes and acids that work to break down food and convert it into either energy or waste products. In addition, hyssop may help to soothe intestinal problems by reducing inflammation.
Pregnant women should not drink hyssop tea as it may cause menstruation, increasing the risk of miscarriage. Research is still ongoing into the dangers of drinking hyssop tea while breastfeeding so avoid drinking the tea and consult with your physician. Young children should not drink hyssop tea as it may cause convulsions. Other side effects include a higher risk of seizures.
Always talk to a healthcare professional before using herbal remedies and drinking herbal teas. While the tea is used for a wide range of ailments including colic and as an antiviral, hyssop tea is not an approved medicine for any ailments in the United States. A qualified doctor can help you understand potential side effects and benefits for your specific health situation.
Brew up a cup of delicious hyssop tea today and enjoy the vibrant minty flavor and underlying licorice notes. The tea brews best using boiling water. Make sure to allow the hyssop leaves to steep for 5 to 8 minutes. For the best flavor, stick to loose leaf tea rather than tea bags. Tea bags are often made using the crushed-up leaves and dust of tea leaves, resulting in poorer flavor quality and fewer compounds such as flavonoids and tannins that are responsible for the plant’s health benefits. The tea can be made using fresh leaves from plants grown in your garden in North America or by using dried herbs from the grocery store, herbalists at the farmers market, or your favorite tea shop.
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