Hops - Research
One laboratory study has demonstrated antimicrobial activity in hops and has suggested that hops constituents may be useful in mouthwash. No clinical studies to date have examined the effectiveness of hops for any traditional use.
Medicinally, hops are mainly used as a sedative. With other herbal sedatives, hops can be beneficial for sleeplessness and nervousness. Efficacy has long been established, but the exact mechanism for sedation is still unknown. Hops also contain spasm relieving, diuretic, calming, sleep promoting, hypnotic, and antimicrobial properties.
Traditionally hops were used for nervousness, insomnia, excitability, ulcers, indigestion, and restlessness associated with tension headache. Additional folk medicine uses include pain relief, improved appetite, and as a tonic. A tea made of hops was ingested for inflammation of the bladder. Native American tribes used hops for insomnia and pain. Hops are employed in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine for restlessness and in traditional Chinese medicine for insomnia, stomach upset and cramping, and lack of appetite.
Clinical studies in China report promise for the treatment of tuberculosis, leprosy, acute bacterial dysentery, silicosis, and asbestosis. Externally, it has been applied to treat dandruff, ringworm, sores, ulcers, skin injuries, acne, and to alleviate pain and itching. In aromatherapy, hops have been used for skin care, breathing conditions, nervousness, nerve pain, and stress-related conditions.
Hops are approved in various monographs and pharmacopoeias for excitability, lack of appetite, mood disturbances (restlessness, anxiety), sleep disturbances, sleeplessness, and tenseness.
1 Bruneton J, ed. Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants. 2nd ed. Paris: Lavoisier; 1999.
2 Onstad D. Whole Foods Companion: A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers & Lovers of Natural Foods. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company; 1996.
3 Tucker AO, Debaggio T. The Big Book of Herbs. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press; 2000.
4 British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Dorset, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association; 1996.
5 Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.
6 Tyler VE, Foster S. Tyler’s Honest Herbal. 4th ed. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Herbal Press; 1999.
7 Wichtl M, Brinckmann J. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Stuttgart: Medpharm GmbH Scientific Publishers; 2004.
8 Bown D. The Herb Society of America New Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses. London: Dorling Kindersley Ltd.; 2001.
9 Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Vol. 1. New York: Dover Books; 1971.
10 Duke J, ed. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1985.
11 Davidson A. The Oxford Companion to Food. London: Oxford University Press; 1999.
12 Barnes J, Anderson L, Phillipson J, eds. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2002.
13 Arctander S. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. Carol Stream , IL: Allured Publishing Corporation; 1994.
14 Lawless J. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism. Dorset, UK: Element Books, Ltd; 1995.
15 D’Amelio FS. Botanicals: A Phytocosmetic Desk Reference. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press LLC; 1999.
16 Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS, eds. Klein S, Rister RS, trans. The Complete German Commission E Monographs Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; Boston: Integrative Medicine Communication; 1998.
17 Bradley P. British Herbal Compendium. Vol. 1. Dorset, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association; 1992.
18 European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. ESCOP Monographs. 2nd ed. New York: Thieme New York; 2003.
19 Bhattacharya S, Virani S, Zavro M, Haas GJ. Inhibition of Streptococcus mutans and other oral Streptococci by hop (Humulus lupulus L.) constituents. Economic Botany 2003;57(1):118–125.
20 Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to Manatu Ahuwhenua, Ngaherehere New Zealand. International Market for Hops. Available at: http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/rural-nz/profitability-and-economics/producer-boards/structure-of-hop-industry/hopmb002.htm. Accessed August 31, 2005.