Properties of hop plant

Medicinal, edible and industrial uses of hop


Traditional uses of hops

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. According 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 hops has been shown that they have more than 20 compounds that have a sedative function and help to reassure us.


Hop to calm the mind and prevent problems caused by nervous manifestations.

Hop is used for diseases of the nerves. The medicinal use of hop 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 bitter principles are involved as hupulone and humulene.

Remedies with hops

Detail of the cones (infrutescences) and the leaves of hops.
Detail of the cones (infrutescences) and the leaves of hop.

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 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 hop 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 hop 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)

Phytoestrogens of hops for menopause

Currently hops are being studied in menopause as a plant rich in phytoestrogens, components that help reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and irritability. These properties are due to the hormonal effect or estrogenic effect that certain components of the plant, called “phytoestrogens” have.

Phytoestrogens are substances found in plants that are being studied for their ability to supply estrogen during menopause and reduce the side effects of the hormonal decline at this stage ( hot flashes, osteoporosis, etc.). . Hops contain a powerful phytoestrogen called 8-Preninlnaringenin (8PN)

As an anecdote, it is said that women who harvest hops begin to menstruate after two days of beginning the harvest of the plant, which suggests its hormonal effect.

As with soy isoflavones, this phytoestrogen is released when the intestinal flora (microbiota) metabolizes phytoestrogens (in the case of hops, prenylated flavonoids such as isoxanthohumol). Therefore, in a certain way, the estrogenic effect of this plant will be conditioned by a good state of the gut microbiota.

In the beer there is a negligible amount of this component, which must be administered in the form of a hop extract supplement, under medical recommendation.

Hops for the treatment of certain dysfunctions

Hops have been used as a relaxant for the treatment of certain dysfunctions.

* More information: Hops as an enhancer

Hops for cancer

Modern research points to the possibility that this plant could inhibit the growth of cancer cells, especially in breast cancer.

The reasons for these studies are centered on the hypothesis that some of their components can neutralize the enzymes that trigger the abnormal growth of the cells producing cancerous tumors.

However, since hops contain estrogen, it has been advised that it should not be taken for breast cancer, so it is best to refrain from taking this plant in these cases until the subject is more defined.

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)

Rheumatic pains: The above treatment may be useful in reducing pain and inflammation of the joints affected by rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

medicinal properties of hops

Summary with the main medicinal properties of hops. It is considered a plant with tranquilizing properties, against insomnia and with possible benefits for menopause


Hop as 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.

Hop is an edible wild plant

Hop can be eaten because it is and edible wild 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.

Other uses of hop plant

  • 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.

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

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.

punto rojoMore information on hop.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

9 January, 2022

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