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Anise Hyssop

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cultivar413 from Fallbrook, California, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Agastache foeniculum, or Anise Hyssop, is also known as Blue Giant Hyssop or Fragrant Giant Hyssop. Anise Hyssop, a perennial member of the Mint Family, is native to the Great Plains of the northern US and adjacent Canada. It can grow from 2 to 4 feet tall in clumps 1–3 feet wide. It is recognized by its 3- to 6-inch-long spikes of pale lavender to purple flowers and its leaves with silvery undersides that smell of anise when crushed. Anise Hyssop is often grown for ornamental purposes and is considered one of the best food sources for local pollinators.  

Historical Use

As a plant native to North America, historical sources on the use of Anise Hyssop come from Native American sources. One review notes that this plant was used by the Cree, Cheyenne, and Ojibwa for fever reduction, to treat respiratory conditions, and as an external application on burns (Fuentes-Granados, Widrlechner, & Wilson, 1998). 

Find out more about historical use of Anise Hyssop at the John R. Martin Rare Book Rooom.

Modern Use

The most common modern use of Agastache foeniculum is as an ornamental garden plant, due to its attractive flower spikes, fragrant leaves, and beneficence to pollinators. One study has shown strong antioxidant properties of the dried leaves of Anise Hyssop when taken as an herbal supplement (Strilbytska et al., 2020). Studies examining the essential oil of Anise Hyssop have suggested that it may be useful as a virucide against Herpes Virus Simplex 2 (Koch, Reichling, Schneele, & Schnitzler, 2008; Nykänen, Holm, & Hiltunen, 1989).  

Latest Research

  • Agastache Species: A Comprehensive Review on Phytochemical Composition and Therapeutic Properties
    by Mihaela-Ancuța Nechita on August 26, 2023 at 10:00 am

    The Agastache genus is part of the Lamiaceae family and is native to North America, while one species, Agastache rugosa (A. rugosa), is native to East Asia. A review on the phytochemistry and bioactivity of Agastache genus was last performed in 2014. Since then, a lot of progress has been made on the characterization of the phytochemical and pharmacological profiles of Agastache species. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to present a summary of the findings on the phytochemistry and biological…

  • Bridging the Chemical Profile and Biological Activities of a New Variety of Agastache foeniculum (Pursh) Kuntze Extracts and Essential Oil
    by Fănică Bălănescu on January 8, 2023 at 11:00 am

    This study investigated the phytochemical content of alcoholic extracts and essential oil of a new variety of medicinal plants, Agastache foeniculum (Pursh), which Kuntze adapted for cultivation in Romania, namely “Aromat de Buzău”. The essential oil was investigated by GC-MS, while the identification and quantification of various compounds from alcoholic extracts were performed by HPLC-DAD. The total phenol and flavonoid contents of the extracts were evaluated by using standard phytochemical…

  • Comparative Study of Useful Compounds Extracted from Lophanthus anisatus by Green Extraction
    by Daniela-Simina Stefan on November 26, 2022 at 11:00 am

    Essential oils were obtained from different parts of Agastache foeniculum (Lophanthus anisatus) plants by means of extraction: green extraction using hydro-distillation (HD) and bio-solvent distillation, BiAD, discontinuous distillation, and supercritical fluid extraction, in two stages: (1) with CO(2), and (2) with CO(2) and ethanol co-solvent. The extraction yields were determined. The yield values varied for different parts of the plant, as well as the method of extraction. Thus, they had the…

  • Biochar granulation, particle size, and vegetation effects on leachate water quality from a green roof substrate
    by Wenxi Liao on June 26, 2022 at 10:00 am

    Biochar, due to its favourable physiochemical properties, has been promoted as an ideal substrate additive on green roofs, with potential benefits to hydrological function. However, biochar is susceptible to water erosion, which may result in biochar loss and water pollution. The use of granulated biochars or biochars in large particle sizes could potentially alleviate biochar erosion loss, but effects on leachate quality have not been investigated. Also, biochar type and particle size influence…

  • Valorization of a Waste Product of Edible Flowers: Volatile Characterization of Leaves
    by Basma Najar on April 12, 2022 at 10:00 am

    (1) Background: The leaves of some plants are reported for their culinary uses, while in edible flowers, they are one of the discarded products in the supply chain. We investigated the volatile profile (VP) and the essential oil (EO) compositions of leaves from 12 Lamiaceae species, of which nine belong to the Mentheae tribe and three to the Ocimeae tribe. (2) Methods: Phytochemical analyses were performed using a GC-MS instrument. (3) Results: More than 53% of the Ocimeae tribe VP was…


Fuentes-Granados, R. G., Widrlechner, M. P., & Wilson, L. A. (1998). An Overview ofAgastacheResearch. Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants, 6(1), 69-97. doi:10.1300/J044v06n01_09 

Koch, C., Reichling, J., Schneele, J., & Schnitzler, P. (2008). Inhibitory effect of essential oils against herpes simplex virus type 2. Phytomedicine, 15(1-2), 71-78. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2007.09.003 

Nykänen, I., Holm, Y., & Hiltunen, R. (1989). Composition of the Essential Oil of Agastache foeniculum. Planta Med, 55(3), 314-315. doi:10.1055/s-2006-962017 

Strilbytska, O. M., Zayachkivska, A., Koliada, A., Galeotti, F., Volpi, N., Storey, K. B., . . . Lushchak, O. (2020). Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila. Front Physiol, 11, 596729. doi:10.3389/fphys.2020.596729