Time to start preparing for winter!
That’s right, it’s the height of summer here in the northern hemisphere, which means it is the perfect time to start collecting and preparing herbs for your winter medicine chest.
By popular request we are studying the herb hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) right now at HerbMentor.com. Hyssop is an incredible addition to your herbal medicine chest. It can help a wide range of winter maladies and has been relied upon for centuries.
A long history of use…
Hyssop comes to us originally from the mediterranean and has been a beloved medicinal plant for thousands of years. It now grows easily around the world and has been naturalized throughout a lot of North America.
The Romans are said to have introduced hyssop wherever they settled, valuing it as both a ceremonial and healing plant.
Helpful Hyssop! For colds, flu, fevers, bronchitis
Hyssop is probably most famously known as an herb for helping with symptoms of a cold or flu. It is often used for children and is very effective for adults as well.
Energetically hyssop can be explained as a warming and stimulating herb with a pungent taste. We use it to warm up the body and get things moving! Think of it for moving stagnation like stuck mucous, delayed menses or congealed blood (bruises).
As a stimulating diaphoretic it warms the body, pushing out coldness and opening the pores. This is especially ideal for when a person feels cold and is shivering with a slight fever.
Hyssop is perfect for coughs with congested mucus. It both stimulates mucus and expectorates mucus, which enables the lungs and coughing mechanisms to rid it from the body.
Herbalist Nicholas Schnell recommends hyssop for chronic sinus infections.
Hyssop is incredibly easy to grow in the garden and I highly recommend cultivating it! Bees LOVE this plant. It’s also quite a beautiful little shrub with gorgeous purple blooms.
If you are interested in trying hyssop but don’t have access to the fresh plant, you can buy dried hyssop and use it in the same way.
Oxymels are one of my favorite wintertime preparations. These preparations combine the stimulating properties of vinegar with the soothing qualities of honey. This centuries-old preparation is specific for coughs and congestion, especially when there is lots of mucus stuck in the lungs.
Hyssop oxymel has an alluring taste and pungency of the aromatic hyssop herb brings this preparation to life!
To make this recipe you’ll need…
- Hyssop (fresh or dried) Buy dried hyssop here
- Good quality honey
- Apple cider vinegar
- Jar with a plastic lid
To make your hyssop oxymel, fill a jar lightly with chopped fresh hyssop herb. (If using dried hyssop just fill the jar half way with hyssop.)
Next fill the jar about 1/3 of the way full with honey. (For a sweeter and thicker preparation fill the jar half full with honey.)
Then fill the jar the rest of the way with the vinegar.
Vinegar can corrode a metal lid, so you’ll need to cover it with a plastic lid, or place a barrier between the metal lid and the liquid.
Place a label on it and let it sit for 2-4 weeks.
Strain it well. Label and bottle!
Oxymels can be taken in teaspoon to tablespoon amounts. If dealing with an acute issue it is generally better to take smaller amounts more frequently, rather than larger doses only a few times a day. If I had a congested cough I would take this oxymel 1-2 teaspoons at a time at least every hour.
Oxymels will keep for a long time. You can keep this in the fridge for longer preservation (I never do though and it lasts for the entire winter).
Hyssop is safe for most people to use. It should be avoided in pregnancy and extremely large doses. Large doses of the essential oil have been known to cause convulsions.
We hope you are enjoying these summer months!