Herb: Hedge Hyssop

Latin name: Gratiola officinalis

Family: Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Medicinal use of Hedge Hyssop:

Hedge hyssop was once widely used as a medicinal herb but it is now considered to be obsolete because of its toxicity. The root and the flowering herb are cardiac, diuretic, violently purgative and vermifuge. The plant has been used in the treatment of liver problems, enlargement of the spleen, dropsy, jaundice, intestinal worms etc. The plant is harvested whilst in flower in the summer and dried for later use. Use with caution, in excess the plant causes abortion, kidney damage and bowel haemorrhage. See also the notes above on toxicity. A homeopathic remedy is made from the flowering plant. It is used in the treatment of cystitis, colic and certain stomach disorders.

Description of the plant:


40 cm
(1 foot)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Wet grassland, fens, river banks, ditches etc.

Propagation of Hedge Hyssop:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Wet grassland, fens, river banks, ditches etc.

Known hazards of Gratiola officinalis:

All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.