Economic Botany

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 232–241

Identification of biblical hyssop and origin of the traditional use of oregano-group herbs in the Mediterranean region

  • Alexander Fleisher
  • Zhenia Fleisher

DOI: 10.1007/BF02858924

Cite this article as:
Fleisher, A. & Fleisher, Z. Econ Bot (1988) 42: 232. doi:10.1007/BF02858924


A comparative study of the traditional use of oregano-like herbs in the Mediterranean region provides convincing evidence that the hyssop of the Bible is the carvacrol chemotype of the plantMajorana syriaca. The ancient tradition of ritual use of this plant gave rise to two cultures of condiments: za’atar in the Middle East and oregano in Europe.

The flavor of the original hyssop was the determining factor in this development and remained unchanged in oregano and za’atar throughout the centuries.

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Fleisher
    • 1
  • Zhenia Fleisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Florasynth, Inc.New York
  2. 2.Technion-Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael

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