Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Ahh, Anise Hyssop. Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), sometimes known as Licorice Mint, is native to the Upper Midwest and Great Plains. It is the International Herb Association's 2019 Herb of the Year! I find it's bright purple flowers eye-catching and it's sweet licorice aroma calming and uplifting.
Parts Used: Leaves and flowers
Safety: Generally known to be safe for use by children, adults, and older adults. Few known side effects.
Uses: Anise Hyssop has been used to treat colds, flu, and respiratory issues. Infused in tea, anise hyssop can be used to relieve congestion, acting as an expectorant (clearing mucus from lungs and airways). It can be combined with licorice to treat lung conditions such as respiratory infections and bronchitis. As a diaphoretic, a hot tea can induce perspiration and is therefore useful in treating fevers. Anise hyssop has also been used for cold sores and for herpes simplex due to its antiviral actions.
Anise Hyssop is used as a digestive aid. It's a aromatic digestant which can prevent gas and bloating. Sip some tea with your meals.
Anise Hyssop is also used to relieve pain and treat burns and wounds. Due to it's anti-microbial properties it has historically been used in salves and poultices.
Indigenous uses also included using Anise Hyssop to treat depression.
How to use
Teas: Add fresh or dried Anise Hyssop to a jar and cover with boiling water. Rosemary Gladstar recommends 4-6 tablespoons dried herb or 6-8 tablespoons fresh herb per quart jar, but you can do whatever works for you. Cover and let steep until cool enough to drink. Strain and drink, or cool and refrigerate to save for iced tea.
Soothe sunburns, achy muscles and joints: Use a bandana or cheesecloth to tie up fresh or dried plant material and steep in a warm bath. Enjoy.
I love the scent and flavor of Anise Hyssop and want to try making an Anise Hyssop Cordial. As used here, a cordial is an alcoholic herbal beverage that can be taken medicinally, added to teas, or sipped after meals. To make a cordial: Fill a jar 3/4 full with chopped fresh herb material. Fill jar nearly to the top with vodka or brandy, making sure the plant material is covered. Label and store in a cool dark place for one month, visiting occasionally to shake the jar. After one month, strain. Sweeten by adding 1/2 part honey or sugar to your 1 part alcohol (or add sweetener to taste). Heat gently over the stove to dissolve sweetener, then cool and store.
Herbal Honey: Chop the fresh leaves and flowers and immerse them in liquid honey. Cover jar with a tight lid and rotate the jar daily for 3 weeks. Strain and reserve the honey. The infused honey can be taken to help relieve coughs and sore throats.