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HERB FOCUS : Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum, Lamiaceae)

Parts Used:  Flowering tops—leaves, stems, and flower spikes

Medicinal Preparations: Tea, tincture, infused honey, syrup, mead, herbal steam, infused vinegar

Herbal Actions:

  • Nervine
  • Carminative
  • Expectorant
  • Diaphoretic (stimulates perspiration)
  • Anti-emetic (anti-nausea, anti-vomiting)

Medicinal and Culinary Uses: With a spicy-sweet aroma reminiscent of licorice, anise hyssop is a gentle remedy for coughs, colds, indigestion, insomnia, mild depression, and anxiety. I like to combine it with catnip (Nepeta cataria) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) in teas, as their flavors meld nicely and their medicinal uses are complementary.

Children have a special affinity for anise hyssop’s sweet flavor—it can be used to mask the more unpleasant flavors of other medicinals.

In the kitchen, try adding a few finely chopped leaves to salad, herbed goat cheese, and fruit salad for an anise-like flair. Anise hyssop can be artfully woven into all manner of confections, including ice cream, sorbet, icing, cookies, cordials, and smoothies. To infuse the flavor, you can prepare a concentrated tea if the recipe calls for water, or heat milk or butter, gently infusing the herb and then straining.

I highly recommend combining anise hyssop with black birch (Betula lenta) for a delicious root beer–flavored mead or home-fermented soda. Iced tea prepared from anise hyssop, mint (Mentha spp.), and lemon balm is divinely refreshing.

 

 

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