Hops

Humulus lupulus, Cannabinaceae. The dried female strobiles are the part of the plant used.

The hops are collected before they are fully ripe in late spring or early summer. They should be dried with care in the shade.

Functions of hops

Hops:

  • is a remedy with a marked relaxation effect on the central nervous system. It is useful for relieving tension, anxiety, pain, restlessness and agitation. The antispasmodic effect reduces muscle tension throughout the body, relieving spasm and colic in the bowel. Hops make a good remedy for:
    • irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis,
    • nervous indigestion,
    • peptic ulcers,
    • Crohn's disease,
    • ulcerative colitis, and
    • other stress related bowel problems.
  • contain bitters which aid digestion and stimulate the function of the liver and the secretion of bile and digestive juices.
  • contains tannins which aid in the healing of inflammatory conditions and relieve diarrhea.
  • have an estrogenic action which make them an excellent remedy for menopause symptoms. Hops have been used for suppressed and painful periods.
  • have a depressive effect on men's libido (so, drinking beer, which contain hops, will not enhance sexual energy).
  • contain asparagin which is a soothing diuretic. This reduces fluid retention and hastens the elimination of toxins from the system. This together with the effect on the liver gives hops its reputation for clearing skin problems.

Notes on hops

  • Do not use in cases of marked depression.
  • The pollen from the hops may cause contact dermatitis.
  • Use only fresh hops or dried hops that are less than 12 months old.

Dosages

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the dried flowers and leave to infuse for 10 - 15 minutes. A cup should be drunk at night to aid in getting a good nights sleep. The dose may be strengthened as needed.

Tincture: take 1-4 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

Hops are easily grown from seed but it is impossible to tell the sex of the plant until it flowers. Since it is the strobilus from the female flower that is used for healing it is best to grow new plants by taking cuttings from another female plant.

Hops should be grown in a well drained humus rich soil in full sun. They are however a very tough plant and will tolerate periods of adverse conditions.

The whole plant will dye back in the autumn and re-shoot again in the spring.

References

Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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