Also known as Humulus lupulus, European Hops, and Lupulin.
Introduction A "hop" is a green cone around the female flower of the hop plant. Inside the hops are golden grains that form a sticky greenish yellow to organ-yellow powder. Hops have been used for centuries to flavor beer, but they have been used even longer to aid sleep and to reduce libido. In fifteenth-century Germany, monks prescribed teas of hops to young males to help them remain chaste.
Constituents Up to 80% of grains of hops is a bitter resin. There are also tannins, flavonoid antioxidants, lupulone, and humulene.
Parts Used The cone and grains of the hops flower, dried and cut.
Typical Preparations Teas, infusions, tinctures, or encapsulations. Is also popularly used in dream and sleep pillows and many other cosmetic formulations.
Summary Hops are sedating, but the chemicals responsible for this effect (humulone and lupulone) are strongest after an aging process of about 6 months to 2 years, which is the time required for them to form their sedative chemicals. Fresh hops provide bitters that stimulate digestion; these bitters are also found in the aged herb. In folk medicine, washes made with hops and waters are often used to treat sores and skin injuries. Hops teas are also used to relieve the pain of bladder infections. The hops used in beer are used "fresher," so drinking beer does not have the same effect as taking hops as an herb. The German food chemist Udo Pollmer notes that soaking red or white meats in beer, before grilling, reduces the formation of cancer-causing HCA's (heterocyclic amines), and actually prevents the formation of these compounds, although "lite" or alcohol-free beers do not have this effect.
Precautions The hops in beer are responsible for an unfortunate condition in men known in German herbal medicine as "beer-drinker's droop," or erectile dysfunction. Avoiding excessive consumption of beer or hops helps men retain potency.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This information courtesy of MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS, with full, written permission for reuse. For further traditional information concerning Hops, please visit this excellent resource from Botanical.com. Used with full, written permission.