Common English Name: Common hop, hop (Name of the plant); hops (name of the female flowers, sometimes used a substitute name of the whole plant)
Spanish name: Lúpulo, lupina, lupo.
Scientific name: Humulus lupulus L.
Habitat: Natural wet and cold areas of Europe, where it can be found in the wild in hedges, weeds and forest boundaries or along rivers. Imported to other parts of the world for the production of beer, it can appear naturalized, being quite abundant in China and the United States.
Description of hop
Dioecious perennial plant of the Cannabaceae family up to 8 m. tall.
Annual twining stems that twine in any possible hold..
Leaves dark green palmate - divided, provided with 3-5 toothed lobes.
Male and female flowers on different plants. The first are yellow-green and are gathered in panicles, the female, gathered in catkins, are light green.
As we have seen before, hops is the name of the female flowers of hop plant (Humulus lupus). They are very well know as an ingredient to produce beer, but they also have curative properties that have been traditionally used.
Its use was widespread among the Romans. Acording to numerous written references that have survived to our time, hop has been used traditionally as a soothing plant. In fact, one of the traditional remedies to sleep was to sleep on a pillow stuffed with the leaves of this plant.
Subsequently, studies on the principles of hop has been shown that it posseses more than 20 compounds that have a sedative function and help to reassure us.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF HOPS
Hops preparations for internal use
Hops to calm the mind and prevent problems caused by nervous manifestations.
Hops are used for diseases of the nerves. The medicinal use of hops is primarily focused on the use of its sedative properties to calm nerve problems.
Among the many tranquilizing components, we can mention stigmasterol as the most important one, together with isovaleric acid or some components of its essential oil such as limonene, and eugenol.
Also some of the bitterprinciples are involved as hupulone and humulene. These properties can be exploited in numerous abnormalities involving the presence of some " intemperate nerves " as:
- Nervousness: A lack of tranquility, agitation or nervousness, being produced with the expectation of a situation that makes us uncomfortable or unexplained, is able to originate a very negative mood. Infusions of the female inflorescences can help balance this lack of tranquility (Infusion of a spoonful of dried female flowers of hops in a cup of water for 10 minutes. Take a cup before bedtime)
- Anxiety: This feeling of fear, anguish or anxiety that often accompanies to a real or imagined danger that characterizes anxiety can be reduced with the use of this plant. (Infusion of a spoonful of dried female flowers of hops in a cup of water for 10 minutes. Take a cup before bedtime)
- Insomnia: The altered nerves are often the cause of the inability to sleep. The infusion seen above can be used to sleep better. (Infusion of a spoonful of dried female flowers of hops in a cup of water for 10 minutes. Take a cup before bedtime)
- Headache or migraine caused by tension: In migraines, often caused by a buildup of body tension, the ingestion of the above remedy can help relieve headache.
- Palpitations, spasms, muscle stiffness: Many of these demonstrations have in most cases a neural origin, such as palpitations or increased heart rate, muscle heaviness or stomach cramps. Hops can help overcome these anomalies when responding to psychological reasons. (Take the superior treatment)
- Disorders of the stomach: The stomach can be benefited from treatments with hop flowers, since many of the problems of this organ have a psychological origin. The popular phrase "having a nervous stomach " summarizes in simple words this statement.
- Intestinal spasms , indigestion or dyspepsia or heartburn can answer a stomach affected by an altered nervous system. (Maceration of 3 tablespoons of dried flowers in one liter of water for a full day. Drink a glass before meals) (prepared capsules available in pharmacies or herbalists before eating according to the patient's leaflet) (usually 2 ml of tincture before each of the three main meals)
Hops are suitable for some treatments thanks its stimulant effects.
Hops is considered a good anti-cancer. Modern research suggests the possibility that this plant would inhibit the growth of cancer cells, especially breast cancer.
The reasons for these studies focus on the hypothesis that some components may neutralize the enzymes that trigger abnormal growth of cancerous tumors .
Hops for intestinal worms
The infusion of hop cones, because they contain eugenol, helps eliminate intestinal worms. (Infusion of half a tablespoon of hop cones per cup of water)
Hops preparations for external use
- Skin anomalies: Caffeic, chlorogenic and ascorbic acids, as well as its high content of zin, give hops the vulnerary properties suitable for external treatment of certain skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis or skin ulcers. (Moisten a cloth with a few drops of tincture of hops diluted in a glass of water and apply on the affected area)
- Flavoring and preservative of beer: Apart from its medicinal properties, hops are recognized since antiquity as they have been used industrially in the manufacture of beer. They provide the distinctive aroma and flavor of beer while allow its preservation.
The preservative properties occur because hops inhibits the development of numerous bacteria, among which is mainly Staphylococcus aureus and Scheridia coli, which, at the same time, explains why the plant can be useful to prevent certain infections and treating intestinal bacterial infections in both internal and external use. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine was used as antibiotic for treatment of respiratory diseases including tuberculosis.
- Edible wild plant: Hop can be eaten because it is and edible plant. With its fresh leaves, salads can be prepared or tender leaves can be boiled and eaten as vegetables. With the tender shoots, you can elaborate soups or omelets like asparagus.
- Perfume industry: In chemical industry, hop fruits are used in the production of oils which provides flavor to foods, or in the perfume industry.
- Preparation of lupulin: Lupulin is a yellow powder concentrate covering the cones of hop flowers. Widely used for brewing, at therapeutic level, it is used because it has the same properties as the hop flowers but much more concentrated. (More information)
How secure is hops?
Hops should not be used by people affected by depression, pregnant women or those suffering from breast cancer.
In very sensitive people, the peculiar smell of hops or lupulin can cause nausea, precisely one of the stomach anomalies that this plant can solve.
The contact of the plant with the skin may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals (More information).
Collection and conservation of hops
The female inflorescences or cones can be collected from late summer to autumn. They will be dried in the shade and kept in airtight containers at natural temperature.
Since it is a product that turns rancid easily, they can only be used for one season.