Hops are the flowers of the hop plant or humulus lupulus. The hop plant is native to Europe but is now cultivated worldwide including in the US where 97 percent of hops come from Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. While the climbing hop vine is renowned for imparting flavor to pilsners and ales, most people do not know that these flowers are not only good for making beer but also have medicinal properties. The health benefits of hops are attributed to compounds in the plant’s flowers such as flavonoids, lupulone and humulene.
Alternative medicine enthusiasts hold that these compounds have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-anxiety properties.
Note: The Right Flowers is not a medical site. Knowledge of and information about the therapeutic benefits and applications of flowers, while known through the ages, does not constitute medical advice. If you are having health issues, you should consult with a physician.]
Early physicians discovered that hop harvesters usually got tired and drowsy quite fast during the harvesting period. They assumed that the sticky resin excreted when the plant is cut was responsible for these effects. With time, scientists confirmed that lupolene and humulene in hops have mild sedative effects which were responsible for the drowsy behavior of the hop pickers.
Relieves tension headaches
Since hops have a sedative effect, they are ideal for treating headaches caused by tension. They achieve this by enhancing blood circulation to your brain. Apart from relieving tense nerves, they also loosen and calm tense muscles and nerves in the neck and shoulders which helps in relieving paranoia.
Hops contain flavonoid 8-prenylnaringenin, a compound classified as a phytoestrogen. This is a compound found in plants that mimics the effects of estrogen, the female hormone. Some studies suggest that 8-prenylnaringenin helps in increasing estrogenic activity in the body which helps in overcoming estrogen deficiency.
Since estrogen is known to reduce during menopause, hops are seen as an effective remedy for hot flashes and night sweats which accompany the condition.
In a 2010 study conducted in Finland, menopausal women received hops extracts over a period of 8 weeks. At the end of the period, researchers noticed that the women experienced a significant reduction in night sweats, hot flashes, and low libido compared to those who received a placebo.
Researchers also noticed that hops had a similar effect as conventional hormone replacement therapy(HRT) but minus the effects associated with HRT such as headaches, bloating, leg cramps and indigestion.
Indigestion is a common problem that affects people for various reasons. It can be quite uncomfortable and affect your overall health. To ease digestion problems, alternative cure enthusiasts recommend that you drink herbal infusions containing hop blossoms. Hops not only helps in aiding digestion but are also great for treating irregular bowel movement and softening the stool. In addition, consuming hops infusion is known to relieve bloating and alleviate stomach upsets.
Now, next time you drive or walk past hop farms in states such as Oregon and Washington, you may need to stop and admire them knowing that these climbing plants are not only good for making beer but also great for keeping you healthy.