Hops - Adventist HealthCare

Hops

Uses

Botanical names:
Humulus lupulus

Parts Used & Where Grown

The hops plant, Humulus lupulus, is a climbing plant native to Europe, Asia, and North America. Hops are the cone-like, fruiting bodies (strobiles) of the plant and are typically harvested from cultivated female plants. Hops are most commonly used as a flavoring agent in beer.

What Are Star Ratings?

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
2 Stars
Insomnia
Refer to label instructions
Hops is commonly recommended by doctors as a mild sedative for those suffering from insomnia or nervous exhaustion.

Combining valerian root with other mildly sedating herbs is common both in Europe and the United States. Chamomile, hops, passion flower, lemon balm, American scullcap, and catnip are commonly recommended by doctors. These herbs can also be used alone as mild sedatives for those suffering from insomnia or nervous exhaustion. Chamomile is a particularly good choice for younger children whose insomnia may be related to gastrointestinal upset. Hops and lemon balm are approved by the German government for relieving sleep disturbances. In a double-blind trial, the combination of valerian root and hops was significantly more effective than valerian root alone for treating insomnia.

1 Star
Anxiety
Refer to label instructions
Hops is one of a group of "nerve tonic" (nervine) herbs used in traditional herbal medicine for people with anxiety, with few reports of toxicity.

Other nervines include oats (oat straw), hops, passion flower, American scullcap, wood betony, motherwort, pennyroyal, and linden.

1 Star
Poor Digestion
Refer to label instructions
Hops has a long history of use to soothe the stomach and promote healthy digestion and appetite.
Soothing the stomach and promoting healthy digestion have been the strongest historical use of this herb. Hops tea was also recommended by herbalists as a mild sedative and remedy for insomnia, particularly for those with insomnia resulting from an upset stomach. Hops are high in bitter substances. The two primary bitter constituents are known as humulone and lupulone. These are thought to be responsible for the appetite-stimulating properties of hops.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Soothing the stomach and promoting healthy digestion have been the strongest historical use of this herb. Hops tea was also recommended by herbalists as a mild sedative and remedy for insomnia, particularly for those with insomnia resulting from an upset stomach.1 A pillow filled with hops was sometimes used to encourage sleep. Traditionally, hops were also thought by herbalists to have a diuretic effect and to treat sexual neuroses. A poultice of hops was used topically to treat sores and skin injuries and to relieve muscle spasms and nerve pain.2

How It Works

Botanical names:
Humulus lupulus

How It Works

Hops are high in bitter substances. The two primary bitter constituents are known as humulone and lupulone.3 These are thought to be responsible for the appetite-stimulating properties of hops. Hops also contain about 1–3% volatile oils. Hops have been shown to have mild sedative properties, although the mechanism is unclear.4 Some herbal preparations for insomnia combine hops with more potent sedative herbs, such as valerian. Hops also contain phytoestrogens that bind estrogen receptors in test tube studies but are thought to have only mild estrogen-like actions.5

How to Use It

The German Commission E monograph recommends a single application of 500 mg of dried herb for anxiety or insomnia.6 The dried fruits can be made into a tea by pouring 1 cup (250 ml) of boiling water over 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 grams) of the fruit. Steep for ten to fifteen minutes before drinking. Tinctures, 1/4–1/2 teaspoon (1–2 ml) two or three times per day, can also be used. As mentioned above, many herbal preparations use hops in combination with herbal sedatives, including valerian, passion flower, and scullcap.

Interactions

Botanical names:
Humulus lupulus

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers' package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Humulus lupulus

Side Effects

Use of hops is generally safe. However, some people have been reported to experience an allergic skin rash after handling the dried flowers. This is most likely due to a pollen sensitivity.7

References

1. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 285-6.

2. Foster S. Herbs for Your Health. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1996, 56-7.

3. Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994, 305-8.

4. Bradley PR (ed). British Herbal Compendium. Bournemouth: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 128-30.

5. Eagon CL, Elm MS, Eagon PK. Estrogenicity of traditional Chinese and Western herbal remedies. Proc Annu Meet Am Assoc Cancer Res 1996;37:A1937 [abstract].

6. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 147.

7. Foster S. Herbs for Your Health. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1996, 56-7.

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