All About Hyssop Essential Oil
Everywhere you read, hyssop is indicated as an essential oil with precautions and one everyone should be afraid of. Is the information correct? Let’s learn about hyssop essential oil safety.
What is Hyssop?
Hyssop a plant called hyssopus officinalis, is steam distilled from its flowers and leaves. It has purple flowers, and it looks quite like lavender, however they are not the same or even related. The essential oil has a clear to yellow colour, and smells fresh and earthy.
The 3 main constituents within hyssop are pinocamphone, isopinocamphone, and beta-pinene, and the concern for this essential oil comes from that main ketone constituent pinocamphone.
Pinocamphone has convulsant activity at relatively moderate doses in humans. This is because pinocamphone is a GABA antagonist, meaning it inhibits the action of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a neurotransmitter of brain function. Because of these activities, hyssop is contraindicated for epilepsy, seizures, pregnancy, breastfeeding, fevers, and for children under 2.
Simple inhalation of an essential oil can stimulate a seizure, but it is rare. Generally, these affects occur with larger doses (some reports say 2 doses of 10 drops of hyssop) and especially with ingestion. As always, quality absolutely matters. Synthetic ingredients will create a much greater risk for adverse reaction, however, good quality hyssop also carries this risk. Additionally, dosage is extremely important.
What About the Linalool Chemotype?
First of all: what is a chemotype? A version of a plant with the same species (not a hybrid plant or a different species of it) but varying chemical constituents. Often these occur because of being grown in a different climate, or with less or more rain, or less or more sunlight, variance in temperature, insect activity etc.
A chemotype is not necessarily an indication of poor quality essential oil, but rather a result of the influence of change in natural factors. Certain plants grow better in certain climates, and it’s best to grow the plant in that environment, however external, natural factors like weather can affect the chemical structure of the essential oil.
So What Does This Have To Do With Hyssop?
Hyssop ct linalool –that is, hyssop essential oil highest in linalool with low pincamphone– does not have any contraindications. The constituents within this chemotype are actually completely different, the main 3 being linalool, 1,8-cineole, and limonene.
You can see why monitoring the growing process is so crucial: it can produce the same plant and essential oil with a completely different chemical profile!
So what about the brand I use?
The brand I use IS high in pinocamphone, so use it cautiously for the listed recommendations and consult your primary care provider or your qualified aromatherapist before use.
What can you use hyssop for?
I actually quite love hyssop essential oil. Because of it’s profile, it’s actually a fantastic essential oil for:
- respiratory & lung support – *highly supportive for the lungs
- joints, muscles, tendons, ligament support
- digestive support
To use, diffuse a couple drops and apply 1 to 2 drops on location. You might also choose to dilute the essential oil to slow down absorption.
This is not an essential oil I’m personally terribly afraid of. In general, you will find I am not afraid of very many plants and I choose to use hyssop at low amounts.
However, it is one I recommended others use cautiously as applicable to you. There are many other plants you can use if you fall into one of the contraindicated categories.