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.
Hop is an excellent remedy for those with insomnia. It has a unique calming effect on the entire system. The herb treats anxiety, nervous stomach, stress, headaches, restlessness, and nervous diarrhea. However, it has other uses. Hops can also be used for ulcers, toothache, chest ailments, bronchial tubes, sore throat, stomach tonic, morning sickness, jaundice, indigestion, fever, and coughs.
It can relieve intestinal cramps, dispel flatulence, and stimulate the appetite. It can also remedy sexually transmitted diseases and cardiovascular disorders. A cold tea made with hops can aid and increase digestion. Putting the dry herb inside a pillow will bring about sleep.
Externally it can treat skin ailments, rheumatic pains, earaches, inflammations, boils, and bruises.
NOTE: Hops tend to lose internal medicinal effectiveness quickly when stored.
In Germany, people use the herb to treat discomfort from sleep disturbances, restlessness, and anxiety. It is considered to be calming and beneficial in promoting sleep. Tea made from the fruit (strobiles) is traditionally used as a diuretic, sedative, and antispasmodic. The fruit is also helpful internally to treat cramps, coughs, and fevers; and externally to treat rheumatism, boils, bruises, and inflammation.
The plant contains several pain-relieving and sedative components. Its antimicrobial properties are currently being investigated. It also relieves the spasms of the smooth muscles. Hops can relieve unrest, nervous tension, and mood disturbances. Japanese hops (Hunnihis japonicas) are a weedy plant with five to nine-leaf lobes rougher than typical hops but used the same.
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
- Dry extract.
- 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).
Infusion – Steep for five to fifteen minutes and take six ounces three times daily, hot or cold. Tincture – Take fifteen to thirty drops ½ to one teaspoon three times daily. Fluid Extract – Take ten to fifteen drops three times daily. Powder – Take five to ten #0 capsules (30 to 60 grains) three times daily.
- 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]
- Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 162, 163.