Each year the International Herb Association (IHA) reports on its chosen Herb of the Year and the herb of 2019 is Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum). This member of the mint family has a wide variety of applications from tea infusions to pollinator attraction in the garden. As a medicinal herb Anise Hyssop is beneficial for digestive function and can help reduce inflammation. The herb is also high in antioxidants and has antimicrobial properties that lend its digestive benefits. The leaves can be used to add flavor to salads, jellies, honey, or distilled spirits for a taste of the garden in your evening cocktail.
In its native ecosystem of North America Anise Hyssop can reach heights of four to five feet with stemmed purple flowers topping the stalks. These bloom in mid to late summer and will self seed readily so be ready for little sprouts in the next season. The benefits of this plants extend beyond their decorative and culinary properties and more is being learned about ancient uses of this herb and how it can be useful in a modern health regimen. The IHA offers a book full of information on the herb of the year that you can check out here if you would like to dig deeper into the soil of the Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum). Pick up a start of a pack of seeds and start growing some Anise Hyssop in your garden this year!