The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder already knew about the many health benefits of hops because he christened the plant with the name of Lupulus. After all, it overgrows the gardens where it grows as if it were a Lupus (the Latin word for wolf). From the Middle Ages on, lupulin has been used to give aroma and preserve beer, and many additional properties have been discovered since then.
Healing and Health Benefits of Hops
Lupulin, a powder that falls when the hop cones are shaken, contains an essence rich in terpenic hydrocarbons. It provides this powder with its sedative and narcotic (which induces sleep) actions. It also includes a resin with bitter ingredients, explaining its tonic, digestive, and appetizer action. The cones also contain flavonoids, which are substances with estrogenic and antiseptic activity. It is used in the following cases:
- Nervous states, insomnia, migraine.
- Sexual hyperexcitation in young males (anaphrodisiac action). In the age of Queen Victoria, in the United Kingdom, hop cones were used to fill pillows.
- Difficult digestion and lack of appetite.
- Stomach ache, neuralgic pain, externally applied in the form of compresses or poultices.
WARNING! Do not exceed the recommended doses for internal use, as hops may provoke nausea.
Hops Scientific Facts
- Other names: Common hops, European hops.
- French: Houblon, houblon a la biere.
- Spanish: Lupulo.
- Environment: Very common in humid forests and hedges all over Europe and North America. The plant is cultivated in many regions.
- Description: Vivacious vine of the Cannabinaceae family, whose stem may reach up to six meters. It is a dioicous plant whose female plants produce globular flowers that take a conic shape (cones or catkins) when the fruit ripens.
- Parts of the plants used medicinally: Cones (flowers of the hops plant) and lupulin (the golden powder of these fruits).
How to use Hops
- Infusion with 10-20 g of cones per liter of water, drinking three or four cups daily.
- Dry extract. Up to 2 daily grams distributed over two or three intakes.
- Warm compresses with the same infusion of hop cones described for internal use. These compresses are applied over the painful area.
- Poultices. These are prepared by putting a handful of hop cones on a cotton cloth and wrapping them. Then soak the gauze in warm water, and apply it over the painful area (it is usually employed on the stomach).
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 158. Print. [health benefits of hops]