Anise Hyssop has the scientific name Agastache Foeniculum and is also commonly known as Licorice Mint.
This plant has tiny lavendar-blue flowers and the smell and taste of Anise (smells like aniseed) but it is actually from a different family altogther. It actually belongs to the the Lamiaceae (Labiatae), or mint family.
It is (or was before it was progagated commercially) a native wildflower of north-central North America.
This herb is an erect, branched perennial herb and it grows to a height of 3 - 5'. The plants should be planted 12 to 24" apart.
This plant will thrive in full sun to light shade and can be grown from seed or cuttings. It is frost and drought resistant. If planted in the garden, this herb will attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
The flowers, leaves and seeds are all edible.
Uses of Anise Hyssop
This herb is known as a culinary herb and used as tea or in salads, soups and fruit dishes. But it historically it also has a reputation as a medicinal herb.
The indigenous tribes of North America used this herb as a breath freshener, as a tea and as a sweetener. Used as an infusion it was thought to be good for chest pain and the roots can be used to eleviate coughs.
In Chinese medicine this herb has been used in prescriptions for heachache, fever and angina and the leaves can be used as poultices for sores.
An infused oil made with this herb and olive oil is also believed to be very effective when used as a massage oil for the treatment of aching and arthritic joints and muscles or as a chest rub when congested.
It is also used in dried flower arrangements and pot pourri, and the esstential oil extracted from this herb's leaves and flowers is used commercially and by home crafters to make soap and other beauty products.
Apart from all of the culinary, medicinal and decorative uses, Anise Hyssop is also used in landscaping as a decorative plant for borders and hedges.
The flowers should be picked and dried as they bloom. The leaves can be harvested at any time and can be used fresh or dried for storage.