Hops (Humulus lupulus)
Hops are the greenish flowers that grow on a vining plant native to North America, Europe and Asia. The vines are prickly and grow quite large. They are commercially grown and used to flavor beer. They can be propagated by seed, cuttings or root cuttings. It is a perennial that will come back year after year. The plants prefer full sun and rich soil to grow at its best. It blooms in July and continues for the rest of the season.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Hops can treat nervous tension, anxiety, insomnia, irritability and nervous digestion problems due to its sedative qualities. It is also a good herbal remedy for irritable bowel syndrome and premature ejaculation. Some use the herb to decrease the desire for alcohol. They are antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, and have been used to treat infections of the upper digestive tract. It has been the herb of choice for colitis, palpitations, nervous coughs, hysteria, amenorrhea with a nervous cause and sexual neuroses. This herb has been recommended for asthma, tuberculosis and bronchitis. It has been taken to lower fever and promote urination, as it is a diuretic. Some have used it to rid the body of parasitic worms, leprosy, dysentery, and to stimulate the flow of milk in nursing mothers.
Externally Hops can be applied to the skin to treat eczema, infections, ulcers and herpes. It can be added to shampoo to get rid of greasy hair and dandruff. Added to bath gels, it stimulate the cutaneous metabolism and stimulate hair growth. Poultices of heated flowers have been applied topically to treat toothache and headache.
Other Uses Hops are used to flavor and preserve beer. Young shoots can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like asparagus. The oil is used in the perfume trade. In Scandinavia, the vines are soaked all winter and then made into a coarse cloth. Dried flower heads can be used decoratively in flower arrangements and the vines can be used for woven baskets. The flowers and leaves will produce a brownish-red dye.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Hops are often combined with valerian, passionflower and German chamomile to make formulas for aiding sleep and restlessness.
Flowers The female flowers (hops) and the grain is used medicinally.
Hops should not be used by people who are depressed or are allergic to this herb.
Preparation and Dosage
Hops are available dried, as an extract, a tincture or supplement. A typical dose for adults is 100 to 200 mg per day. For tincture, 6 to 12 drops can be taken 1 to 3 times per day.