Hops Flowers (Humulus lupulus)


Related to the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), hops is a tall, climbing perennial that flourishes in the wild on dumps and along roadsides.

Much like its relative, the hemp plant, when hops was first used to brew beer in England in the 16th century, it aroused great opposition and a petition to Parliament described it as a “wicked weed” that would “endanger the people”. However, unlike hemp, hops does not carry the same versatility or nutritive value.

Its bitter taste is well-known to beer drinkers, and has been cultivated for such since at least the 11th century.

Native Americans, including the Algonquin and Mohegan, used the blossoms to treat nervousness. The Fox and the Cherokee used the plant as a sedative, and the Mohegan used a blossom infusion to relieve toothache.

Key Actions

  • antispasmodic
  • aromatic bitter
  • sedative
  • soporific (hypnotic)

Key Components

  • bitter principles (lupulin containing humulon, lupulon, and valerianic acid)
  • volatile oil (1% mainly humulene)
  • flavonoids
  • polyphenolic tannins
  • estrogenic substances
  • asparagine
  • vitamins and minerals (especially niacin, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, and vitamin C)