Anise Hyssop

This Ancient Purifier is 2019’s Herb of the Year.
Anise Hyssop with a swallowtail butterfly on it.

Hyssop has long been used for purification: it's even mentioned in The Epistle of Hebrews and The Book of Psalms.

But what is this plant, and why is it becoming so popular again?

Anise Hyssop is the IHA's Herb of The Year

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is often-overlooked, but it has been named the Herb of the Year by the International Herb Association (IHA).

What Is The IHA Herb of The Year?

Since 1991, IHA has been selecting an herb to feature each year based on its culinary, decorative, or medicinal qualities.

What is Anise Hyssop?

Anise hyssop is a member of the mint family native to North America.

High in antioxidants, it is used in foods and as a natural remedy.

What is Anise Hyssop Good For?

Like previous IHA honorees, anise hyssop deserves accolades in all three areas.

  • Using Anise Hyssop in Food

    Anise hyssop is most often used as a tea made with either fresh or dried leaves. Iced tea made from the licorice-mint flavored leaves refreshes on hot summer days. Anise hyssop leaves add a bright and unexpected zing to salads, fruit cups, or as a seasoning in a wide variety of dishes. The flowers are also edible.

  • Using Hyssop as a Decoration

    Anise hyssop can grow up to four to five feet tall when fully mature. In mid to late summer, its tall stems produce beautiful purple flower spikes that self-seed generously. Plus, it doesn’t run wild in the garden like other members of the mint family!

  • Medicinal Uses for Anise Hyssop

    Like other mint-family counterparts, this herb is rich in antioxidants and provides relief from mild digestive ailments. It can ease nausea and vomiting, and it also has antimicrobial properties. Anise hyssop supports digestion, immunity, and the nervous and respiratory systems, as well as helping to reduce inflammation. It has no known contraindications.

Click to See Our Sources

“Anise hyssop, Agastache foeniculum” by Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin-Madison Master Gardener Program,, 9/11/15

The Complete Herb Book by Jekka McVicar ($29.95, Firefly, 2008) 

Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies by Maria Noël Groves ($24.95, Storey, 2019)

“Herb of the Year,” International Herb Association,


Kelli Ann Wilson

Associate Editor

Kelli Ann Wilson is Associate Editor at Taste for Life magazine. In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, photography, gardening, and spending time with her husband and two kids.