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Herb Spotlight - Hops

Herb Spotlight - Motherwort - Sun God Medicinals

Hops (Humulus lupulus)  

Family: Cannabaceae

Part Used: Flower

Flavor/Aroma: Drying, Bitter

Energetics: Cooling


Herbal Actions: 

Anti inflammatory, Antispasmodic, Anodyne, Sedative, Stomachic, Nervine, Anxiolytic, Thymoleptic, Hypnotic, Febrifuge, Anaphrodisiac, Phytoestrogenic 

Overview:

Hops is a grain that has been used to flavor beer for over 10,000 years in parts of Asia, and it soon became infamous across Eastern Europe for its ability to lower the lobido. Monks, who regularly grew the plant in their monastery gardens, used Hops to decrease sexual desires and remain chaste. Its medicinal qualities are widely used, although beer remains the main application for Hops.

Botany:

Hops grows as a perennial vine-like plant that sprouts bright green stalks and bears scaley, coned flowers, that pendulate from each branch. The leaves are heart-shaped and lobed, and are deeper green, roughly textured, and have serrated edges.

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Hops is a common plant found on hedgerows and as an ornamental plant in much of Europe, and is naturalized in areas of the United States, China, and the Canary Islands.² The cones, or stobiles, are best harvested once they have turned a green-amber hue, and need to be dried as soon as possible because they are susceptible to spoiling only a few hours after harvest due to their resinous structure.   

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Oregon’s Willamette Valley is famous for its ideal Hops growing conditions- unbelievably fertile soil, a moderate temperature through growing seasons, and plenty of rainfall to nourish the crops. Fields of Hops are becoming increasingly popular in Southern Oregon as the craft beer market continues to expand rapidly, and beer popularity is higher than ever!

History and Folklore:

European Traditionally Uses: Hops was first mentioned in European literature in 1079 Abbess Hildegarde in a recipe for beer; monks regularly grew hops outside there temples to reduce the sexual urges of the young apprentices. Hops also was used as a sedative, relaxant, and relieve insomnia.²

The Roman’s would refer to Hops as the “wild among the willows, like wolves among sheep,'' referring to its Latin name ‘Lupulus’, which translates loosely to ‘wolf’. 

The Sumerians goddess Ninkasi was known as the head brewer of the gods.¹

Modern Applications:

Hops is indicated to support insomnia and disturbed sleep cycles, dysmenorrhea, and menopausal symptoms. It is also used to increase the appetite, to remedy anxiety, stress, and nervousness³, and aid in the digestive processes and soothe indigestion. Hops contains highly medicinal flavonoids, and other chemical compounds, that contribute to the antispasmodic and antiinflammatory effect of this herb. It is also used to support pneumonia, pleurisy, and to reduce tumors.4

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

2 teaspoons per cup of water.

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 

Tincture: 

2-4 mL up to 4 times per day, and more as needed for sleep support.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Dosage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended dosages are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the dosage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.  

Precautions:

Hops is safe for tonic use, although may cause drowsiness. We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications.  

References:

  1. Hops Flowers. (n.d.). www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/hops-flowers/profile 
  2. Humulus lupulus. (n.d). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/humulus.html 
  3. Christou, A., Kyrou, I., Katsanan, K., Tsigos, C. (April 16, 2017). Effects of hops (Humulus lupulus L.) dry extract supplement on self-reported depression, anxiety and stress levels in apparently healthy adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot study. www.ncbi.nih.nlm.gov/pubmed/28742505 
  4. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Hops.html  

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.