Hop: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Hop: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Hops are native to the northern temperate climates of Asia, Europe and North America. The plant has been cultivated for brewing beer for centuries. The drug material comes mainly from Germany, the Czech Republic, the USA and China.

Herbal medicinal use of hops

In herbal medicine, the whole dried inflorescences of the female plants (hop cones or lupuli flos/strobulus) are used. The hop glands (Lupuli glandular) also used are the gland hairs obtained by sieving, which form a sticky secretion.


Typical characteristics of hops

Hop is a perennial, right-handed climbing plant up to 10 m tall, with serrated, deeply lobed, rough leaves on long stalks. The female flowers are yellowish and stand in spikes resembling a cone. In the female inflorescence, large overlapping bracts surround several small flowers. The bracts and the flowers have numerous orange to golden-yellow glands with resinous secretion.

What to consider when growing

An important principle when growing hops is the separate cultivation of female and male plants to prevent pollination. The female plants are propagated vegetatively. Since hops need a lot of moisture, they are mainly found in the wild near rivers.


Properties of hop cones

Hop cones consist of leaves stacked on each other like imbricated tiles, each with two female flowers in its axil. The shiny orange-yellow glandular hairs can be seen on the leaf pieces.

Hop cones exude a robust and spicy taste. The taste of hops is bitter and spicy.

Hops – Application

Hop cones and glands have a calming effect and are therefore used in certain mental disorders such as anxiety, restlessness, general restlessness and depression. Because of the hypnotic effects of the plant, the drug can also be taken for insomnia. Traditionally, hop cones treat nervous stress and take advantage of the supportive effect on the cardiovascular system during nervous stress.

Further use of hops

In addition to the effects on mental well-being, hop cones are said to promote gastric and salivary secretion and stimulate appetite, which is why they can also be taken for gastrointestinal complaints.

Experiments have even shown that it has an anti-cancer effect.


Hops in folk medicine

As early as 1000 AD, hops were used in brewing to purify the blood, promote menstruation, and as a diuretic. In today’s folk medicine, the plant is also used externally for small ulcers and skin injuries.

Homeopathy Use of Hops

In homoeopathy, the fresh fruit cones, if possible with few seeds, are used to treat mild diseases of the central nervous system associated with nervousness and sleep disorders.


constituents of hops

Hop cones consist primarily of resinous substances, also known as hop resin and are mainly found in the glandular hairs. The proportion of hop resin in the cones is around 15-30% and in the glands 50-80%. The most critical components of the resin are the unstable bitter substances humulone and lupulone. Other ingredients of the drug are flavonoids, tannins and essential oil, which are responsible for the spicy smell of the cones.

Indications where hops can help:

Hops can help in the following cases:

  • restlessness
  • restlessness
  • Angst
  • upset
  • nervousness
  • sleep disorders
  • Gastrointestinal complaints
  • skin injuries
  • wounds
  • ulcers

Hop dosage

Hop cones are offered for internal use in teadragees, capsules, tablets or drops. The plant is contained, for example, in numerous tea blends in the group of sleeping and calming teas. If you have trouble sleeping, you can also take an alcohol extract from the drug right before you go to bed.

Ointments, baths and pads are commercially available for the external use of hop cones.

Hops: the correct dose

Unless otherwise prescribed, the average daily dose is 0.5 g of the drug or 1-2 ml of the tincture.


Preparation of hop tea

To prepare tea, about 0.5 g of the crushed hop cones (1 teaspoon corresponds to about 0.4 g) are poured over with boiling water and passed through a tea strainer after 10-15 minutes. Since the tea is quite bitter, combining it with other calming plants, such as lemon balm or lavender, is recommended.


There are no known side effects, interactions or contraindications for hop cones. However, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should consume hops cautiously.


Be careful with fresh hop cones.

Contact with fresh, undried hop cones can cause so-called hop-picker’s disease, which can accompany headaches, drowsiness, joint problems, blistering of the skin, and conjunctivitis. However, this is not to be expected with dry cones since the parts of the plant responsible for these reactions will probably perish during drying.

Storage of hops

Hops should be stored dry and protected from light. Purchased tea should be poured into a tin or a similar container at home, which should be shaken vigorously before the tea is prepared. Since glandular hairs can settle out during more extended storage, mixing counteracts an uneven distribution of the bitter substances.

Hops – synonyms

German plant name: hop

German synonyms of the plant: True hops, typical hops, typical hops, wild hops, beer hops, hedge hops, hops, hops, hops, willow hops

Latin plant name: Humulus lupulus L., white flakes

Latin synonyms of the plant: Cannabis hops, Humulus cordifolius, Humulus americanus, Humulus volubilis, Humulus vulgaris, Common hops, Hopulus Humulus, Decadence hops

German drug name: Hopfenzapfen


German synonyms of the drug: Hop flowers, hop cones, hop catkins, Humulus lupulus infructescence

Latin drug name: Lupuli floss 

Glandula hops

Latin synonyms of the drug: Hopfenzapfen: Lupuli strobilus, Flores Humuli lupulin, Strobili Humili, Strobili Hopuli, Strobili Hopuli

English name: Common Hop, Hops, Hop, European Hop, Lupulus, Wild Hop, Bine

Plant family Latin: Cannabaceae

Plant family German: hemp plants


Hops – effect

It is assumed that the calming effect of methyl butanol is released in the body from humulone and lupulone. Methylbutenol is an unstable compound released in the body and during storage.

If the drug has been stored for only six months, the hop bitterness content has already dropped to 30%. Due to the volatile ingredients determining the effectiveness, hop pillows or sachets are often used for people with difficulty falling asleep.

Hops: are there any side effects?

There are no known side effects, interactions or contraindications for hop cones. However, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should consume hops cautiously.


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