Whole fresh or dried or powdered
Hops are the female flowers of a climbing plant found throughout Europe and North America that is related to Cannabis, or hemp.
The most widespread use of hops is in beer production, a practice that dates back many centuries. Whole hops are used by home brewers today for the same purpose, or to make tisanes and teas.
Hops are also added to herb pillows, often in combination with lavender, valerian, dill and other herbs reputed to promote relaxation.
Hops are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart a bitter, tangy flavor, though hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine.
In the Middle Ages, beers tended to be of a very low alcohol content
(small beer) and were commonly consumed as a safer alternative to
untreated water. Each village tended to have one or more small breweries
with a barley field and a hop garden in close vicinity. Early documents
include mention of a hop garden in the will of Charlemagne's father, Pepin
III. However, the first documented use of hops in beer as a flavoring
agent is from the 11th century. Before this period, brewers used a wide
variety of bitter herbs and flowers, including dandelion, burdock root, marigold, horehound (the German name for horehound means "mountain hops"), ground ivy, and heather.
Hops are used extensively in brewing for their antibacterial effect that favors the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable microorganisms and for many purported benefits, including balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing a
variety of desirable flavors and aromas. Historically, traditional herb combinations for beers were believed to have been abandoned when beers made with hops were noticed to be less prone to spoilage.
In addition to beer, hops are also used in herbal teas and in soft drinks. These soft drinks include Julmust (a carbonated beverage similar to soda that is popular in Sweden during December), Malta (a Latin American soft drink) and kvass.
Medicinal Action and Uses---
Hops have tonic, nervine, diuretic and anodyne properties. Their volatile oil produces sedative and soporific effects, and the Lupamaric acid or bitter principle is stomachic and tonic. For this reason Hops improve the appetite and promote sleep.The official preparations are an infusion and a tincture. The infusion is employed as a vehicle, especially for bitters and tonics: the tincture is stomachic and is used to improve the appetite and digestion. Both preparations have been considered to be sedative, were formerly much given in nervousness and hysteria and at bedtime to induce sleep; in cases of nervousness, delirium and inflammation being considered to produce a most soothing effect, frequently procuring for the patient sleep after long periods of sleeplessness in overwrought conditions of the brain.
The bitter principle in the Hop proves one of the most efficacious vegetable bitters obtainable. An infusion of 1/2 oz. Hops to 1 pint of water will be found the proper quantity for ordinary use. It has proved of great service also in heart disease, fits, neuralgia and nervous disorders, besides being a useful tonic in indigestion, jaundice, and stomach and liver affections generally. It gives prompt ease to an irritable bladder, and is said to be an excellent drink in cases of delirium tremens. Sherry in which some Hops have been steeped makes a capital stomachic cordial.
A pillow of warm Hops will often relieve toothache and earache and allay nervous irritation.
An infusion of the leaves, strobiles and stalks, as Hop Tea, taken by the wineglassful two or three times daily in the early spring, is good for sluggish livers. Hop Tea in the leaf, as frequently sold by grocers, consists of Kentish Hop leaves, dried, crushed under rollers and then mixed with ordinary Ceylon or Indian Tea. The infusion combines the refreshment of the one herb with the sleep inducing virtues of the other.
Hop juice cleanses the blood, and for calculus trouble nothing better can be found than the bitter principle of the Hop. A decoction of the root has been esteemed as of equal benefit with Sarsaparilla.
As an external remedy, an infusion of Hops is much in demand in combination with chamomile flowers or poppy heads as a fomentation for swelling of a painful nature, inflammation, neuralgic and rheumatic pains, bruises, boils and gatherings. It removes pain and allays inflammation in a very short time. The Hops may also be applied as a poultice.
The drug Lupulin is an aromatic bitter and is reputed to be midly sedative, inducing sleep without causing headache. It is occasionally administered as a hypnotic, either in pills with alcohol, or enclosed in a cachet. Preparations of Lupulin are not much used in this country, although official, but in the United States they are considered preferable for internal use.
Bitter principles, Flavonoids, Estrogenic substances, Asparagin, Polyphenolic tannins, Volatile oil