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Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) Image
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Azob, bitter aperitifs, borneol, bornylacetate, caffeic acid, camphene, chartreuse, decoction of qingre huoxue (QHR), diosmin, diterpenoid, European mint, ezob (Hebrew), flavonoids, geraniol, giant-hyssop herb, herb hyssop, hesperidin, holy herb, hyssop decoction, hyssop leaf extract, hyssop oil, hyssopin, hyssopos of Dioscorides, Hyssopus ambiguus (Trautv.) Iljin, Hyssopus cretaceus Dubjan., Hyssopus cuspidatus Boriss., Hyssopus ferganensis Boriss., Hyssopus latilabiatus C.Y.Wu & H.W.Li, Hyssopus lophanthoides Buch.-Ham.ex D.Don, Hyssopus macranthus Boriss., Hyssopus ocymifolius Lam., Hyssopus officinalis, Hyssopus officinalis L., Hyssopus seravschanicus (Dub.) Pazij, Hyssopus tianschanicus Boriss, isopinocamphone, Lamiaceae (family), limonene, linalool, marrubiin, oleanolic acid, Origanum aegypticum, Origanum syriacum, phellandrene, pinene, pinocamphone, polysaccharide MAR-10, QHR, resin, tannins, terpenoids, thujone, ursolic acid, volatile oil.

Mechanism of Action


  • Constituents: Several chemical constituents of hyssop have been identified, including pinocamphone, pinene, borneol, geraniol, thujone, camphene, limonene and phellandrene. Terpenoids with known pharmacological actions that are found in hyssop include marrubiin, ursolic acid and oleanolic acid. Other characteristic compounds identified in hyssop are hyssopin (a glucoside), caffeic acid, tannins and resin. The volatile oil of hyssop is composed of camphor, pinacaphone, thujone, isopinocamphone, alpha- and beta-pinene, alpha terpinene, linalool, and bornylacetate.
  • Anti-hyperlipidemia effects: From extensive in vitro and in vivo studies, both oleanolic acid and ursolic acid have recognized anti-hyperlipidemic properties.6
  • Anti-inflammatory effects: From extensive in vitro and in vivo studies, both oleanolic acid and ursolic acid have recognized anti-inflammatory properties.6
  • Anti-proliferative effects: Ursolic acid, a constituent of hyssop, was found to induce apoptosis in human leukemia cells. This effect may have been a result of enhanced intracellular Ca2+ levels, since lowering the intracellular Ca2+ level by different agents inhibits the apoptotic action of ursolic acid7 The antiproliferative action of ursolic acid was also indicated in a mouse melanoma cell line.8
  • Antiviral effects: Crude extracts of dried leaves of Hyssop officinalis have shown strong anti-HIV activity as measured by inhibition of syncytia formation, HIV reverse transcriptase (RT), and p17 and p24 antigen expression; however, these extracts were non-toxic to the uninfected Molt-3 cells.2 Ether extracts from direct extraction (Procedure I), after removal of tannins (Procedure II), or from the residue after dialysis of the crude extract (Procedure III), showed good antiviral activity. Methanol extracts, subsequent to ether, chloroform and chloroform ethanol extractions, derived from procedure I or II, but not III, also showed very strong anti-HIV activity. In addition, the residual material after methanol extractions still showed strong activity. Caffeic acid was identified in the ether extract of procedure I by HPLC and UV spectroscopy. Hyssop officinalis extracts contain caffeic acid, unidentified tannins, and possibly a third class of unidentified higher molecular weight compounds that exhibit strong anti-HIV activity, and may be useful in the treatment of patients with AIDS.
  • Gollapudi, et al. isolated a polysaccharide (MAR-10) from the aqueous extract of the Hyssop officinalis and examined for its activity against HIV-1 (SF strain) in HUT78 T cell line and primary cultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells.3 MAR-10, in a concentration-dependent manner, inhibited HIV-1 replication as demonstrated by the inhibition of HIV-1 p24 antigen and syncytia formation. Furthermore, MAR-10 had no significant direct toxicity or effect on lymphocyte functions or CD4+ and CD8+ T cell counts. In addition, MAR-10 has broad spectrum anti-glycosidase activity.
  • Cardiovascular effects: According to a clinical trial, flavonoids found in hyssop, including diosmin and hesperidin, may slightly improve chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).9
  • Diabetes mellitus type 1 effects: Daflon® 500 (a mixture of diosmin [90%] and hesperidin [10%]) proved to be effective in decreasing glycation in type I diabetic patients.4,5
  • Expectorant effects: Marrubiin, a bitter diterpenoid found in hyssop, irritates the lining of the throat, causing an expectorant action.1
  • Gall bladder effects: Marrubiin, found in hyssop, is a bitter diterpenoid that increases the production of bile in laboratory animals.1


  • Insufficient available evidence.


  1. Tyler VE. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals.
  2. Kreis, W., Kaplan, M. H., Freeman, J., Sun, D. K., and Sarin, P. S. Inhibition of HIV replication by Hyssop officinalis extracts. Antiviral Res  1990;14(6):323-337. 1708226
  3. Gollapudi, S., Sharma, H. A., Aggarwal, S., Byers, L. D., Ensley, H. E., and Gupta, S. Isolation of a previously unidentified polysaccharide (MAR-10) from Hyssop officinalis that exhibits strong activity against human immunodeficiency virus type 1. Biochem Biophys Res Commun  5-5-1995;210(1):145-151. 7741735
  4. Keenoy, B., Vertommen, J., and De, Leeuw, I. The effect of flavonoid treatment on the glycation and antioxidant status in Type 1 diabetic patients. Diabetes Nutr Metab 1999;12(4):256-263. 10782751
  5. Jantet, G. RELIEF study: first consolidated European data. Reflux assEssment and quaLity of lIfe improvement with micronized Flavonoids. Angiology 2000;51(1):31-37. 10667641
  6. Jie, L. Pharmacology of oleanolic acid and ursolic acid. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1-2-1995;49(2-1):57-68.
  7. Baek, J. H., Lee, Y. S., Kang, C. M., Kim, J. A., Kwon, K. S., Son, H. C., and Kim, K. W. Intracellular Ca2+ release mediates ursolic acid-induced apoptosis in human leukemic HL-60 cells. Int J Cancer 11-27-1997;73(5):725-728. 9398053
  8. Es-saady, D., Simon, A., Ollier, M., Maurizis, J. C., Chulia, A. J., and Delage, C. Inhibitory effect of ursolic acid on B16 proliferation through cell cycle arrest. Cancer Lett  9-10-1996;106(2):193-197. 8844972
  9. Cesarone, M. R., Belcaro, G., Pellegrini, L., Ledda, A., Di Renzo, A., Vinciguerra, G., Ricci, A., Gizzi, G., Ippolito, E., Fano, F., Dugall, M., Acerbi, G., and Cacchio, M. HR, 0-(beta-hydroxyethyl)-rutosides, in comparison with diosmin+hesperidin in chronic venous insufficiency and venous microangiopathy: an independent, prospective, comparative registry study. Angiology 2005;56(1):1-8. 15678250

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