Creeping succulent perennial growing to 20 in (50 cm). Has spatula-shaped fleshy leaves and pale blue or white flowers on long, slender stalks.
Habitat & Cultivation
Water hyssop grows in warmer temperate and tropical climates, especially in southern Asia. It thrives in marshland, developing into dense mats on mudflats and at the edges of mangrove swamps.
Water hyssop contains triterpenoid saponins, including bacosides.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
In India, water hyssop is used principally for disorders of the nervous system, such as neuralgia, epilepsy, and mental illness, but it is also employed for a wide range of other disorders, including indigestion, ulcers, gas and constipation, asthma and bronchitis, and infertility.
In China, it is taken as a yang tonic for impotence, premature ejaculation, infertility, and rheumatic conditions. In Indonesia, the plant is a remedy for filariasis (a tropical disease caused by worms). In Cuba, water hyssop is used as a purgative, and a decoction of the whole plant is taken as a diuretic and laxative. The expressed juice is mixed with oil and applied as a rub for arthritic pain.
Indian research suggests that water hyssop improves mental function, memory, and concentration, as well as reduces learning time.