Essential Oils of the Bible: Hyssop

Apr 09, 2021

Purifying Hyssop

"Then take a bunch of hyssop and dipping it in the blood that is in the basin, apply some of this blood to the lintel and the two doorposts," Exodus 12:22. This week's biblical plant has quite the history; in the above passage, it marks the doorpost, initiating the first Passover.


Hyssop thrives in dry, hilly places and is capable of producing stems three to four feet long. It is an aromatic, bitter, pungent, mint-like plant with lavender-colored flowers. While scholars disagree about whether today's hyssop is the same plant mentioned in the Bible, many acknowledge it as related. Furthermore, Scholar Willie Southall notes its presence as growing out of the weeping wall.


Historically, Romans used it for purification. It held economic and social importance among the Jewish people. And it is widely cited as being used for everything from fever, bronchial issues, chest ailments, leprosy to warding off lice - even to feeding honeybees. Temple priests were instructed to use hyssop for purification rights. "The priest shall then order [ ] taking the living bird with the cedarwood, the scarlet yarn, and the hyssop, the priest shall dip them [ ] then sprinkle seven times on the person to be purified from the scaly infection," Leviticus 14:5-7. Later in verse 57, the priest is instructed to "sprinkle the house seven times." Hebrews later reminds us again of its use in sprinkling rites. "When every commandment had been proclaimed by Moses to all [ ] he took the blood [ ] together with water and crimson wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people," Hebrews 9:19.


Hyssop continues its legacy, begin praised by David in Psalm 51. God commands Moses to use it to spread blood through a house to cleanse it of leprosy. And of course, it's most notably mentioned being lifted to our Lord's lips as it held the vinegar-soaked sponge that fulfilled Scripture through the Lord's thirst in the Gospel of John.


So, how do we incorporate this plant into our daily lives? First and foremost, plant hyssop Officinalis in your herb garden!

· It only takes a few leaves used as an herb in a salad or to garnish a meal to serve as an overall body cleanser. Hyssop's bitter qualities promote digestion, aid in the assimilation of food, and encourage regular bowel elimination.

· As a tea, steep 1 ounce of hyssop leaf in 1-pint water. Steep for 15 minutes. Enjoy your tea with a teaspoon of honey to relieve mucous membranes and bronchial tubes from any inflammation. You can also use the tea as a gargle to inhibit bacteria's growth in the mouth and throat, promoting recovery.

· If you are using hyssop as an essential oil, please use it with caution and under the care of an experienced herbal doctor. However, hyssop decumbens, not to be confused with the hyssop officinalis, which should not be ingested, is extremely gentle. It is also known as "creeping hyssop."

o To relieve congestion, direct inhalation of oil is of great aid. You can also add a few drops to your diffuser for simple ease of mind and body.

o Add one to three drops to your bath to help with nausea. Hyssop's deeply penetrating smell promotes sweating, releases heat, and opens blocked pores.

o Place a few drops on a washcloth and leave it on the floor for an aromatic steam shower.

o Add one to five drops of oil to a carrier oil, such as olive oil, and apply to the skin to help with wound care. Using the oil in this manner stimulates healthy skin regeneration and prevents severe scarring. When applied to bruises, it eases inflammatory pain and lessens discoloration.


As with any herb, whether in its whole form or used as an essential oil, there are some precautions. Remember, your care practitioner should always be consulted in using any herb and dealt with as a part of a complete health protocol. When using hyssop in any form, be aware of these precautions:

· It can stimulate menstrual flow; therefore, pregnant women should not use it.

· Hyssop officinalis is identified as an essential oil to be avoided without supervision and an experienced herbalist's care.

· Children under 12 should not use.

· Epileptic patients should not use, as hyssop officinalis has been noted to cause seizures.

· hyssop officinalis essential oil should not be ingested unless instructed to do so by an experienced herbal care practitioner.

Essential Oils: Natural Remedies, Althea Press, Berkeley CA 2015

Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide Kristen Leigh Bell, Findhorn Press, Scotland, UK 2002

Essential Oils of the Bible: Connecting God’s Word to Natural Healing, Randi Minetor, Althea Press, Berkeley, CA 2016

Common Herbs for Natural Health, Juliette de Bairacli Levy, Ash Tree Publishing, Woodstock, NY, 1997

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