Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is a native wildflower of North Central North America and I see it growing in yards and gardens all over this region. Most don't realize what a gem they have growing, especially during those winter months when the colds start popping up. And the smell, I just love picking the leaves and taking deep sniffs of the lovely licorice scent.
Anise Hyssop is a member of the mint family, a perennial that grows in zones 4 thru 9, preferring full sun to part shade. This is one herb that prefers cool summers and blooms from July thru September, especially if you deadhead blooms or for me, prune for drying to use as an herb. The flowers are blue to purple in shade and are 4 to 6 inch spikes. The bees love this flower and is a great plant to have just to encourage and feed the bees. In fact bees love to have anise hyssop near their hive for good pollen for honey production.
The flowers are also delicious to eat, like crumbling them over fruit salad, to sweeten food, to use in a potpourri blend or even to press and dry since they retain their color and fragrance.
When harvesting hyssop for herbal tea use, I pick the stems, leaves and flower heads just as the flowers are forming. Native Americans used Agastache for indigestion and stomach pains, for colds, coughs and fever and for heart problems and chest pains. Personally I use anise hyssop for flavor in my teas and you will find it in my Throat Soother Tea blend helping with fever and cough. I also use the blooms to dry and put into my flower art arrangements.
It is UNSAFE to use hyssop during pregnancy because it might cause the uterus to contract or start menstruation. These effects could lead to a miscarriage. It’s UNSAFE to give hyssop to children. Convulsions were reported in a child who took 2-3 drops of hyssop oil over several days. If you have a history of having seizures, don’t use hyssop. It might trigger seizures or make them worse.
How will you enjoy Anise Hyssop?