Hops, a perennial herbaceous climbing plant, has long been cultivated on the American continent.
In several is cultivated in Alsace , Flanders and the North, where, dried, is used to make beer .
Photo Min An in Pexels
Also an ornamental plant that can quickly create a vegetated screen, hops grow in humid, humus-rich soil in the form of a fickle vine with angular stems surrounding the vertical supports.
This plant has 3 varieties: hops from China, hops from Japan and hops from Europe.
A climbing plant that can reach up to 10 m, the hop is characterized by its female and male flowers commonly known as “stroboscope” due to its conical shape.
These flowers have small glands that produce a kind of yellowish and aromatic resinous powder called “lupulin“. From this substance, not only its medicinal virtues are derived, but also the bitter taste that is used to make beer.
But what are the virtues and benefits of this plant for the health of man? How to use it wisely?
Hops: a little background information
Etymologically, the word “hop” comes from “Humulus”, a diminutive of “humus” derived from the Latin meaning “soil“.
A product of the partial decomposition of plant and animal matter, hops are a perennial herbaceous vine with a large fleshy root that belongs to the Cannabaceae family.
It grows everywhere, more precisely in gardens, and replenishes itself naturally.
Still called “vine of the North“, “native sarsaparilla”, “devil’s wood” or “northern cover”, hops are harvested from September to November.
Once a plant was protected because of the importance given to it by the foresters, the hops were not cut without permission.
Since the 12th century, the preservative and disinfectant virtues of pineapples and female hop flowers were discovered by a mystical Benedictine nun named Hildegard of Bingen.
Their bitterness favoured the fermentation and long-term preservation of the beer.
Very quickly, these virtues were exploited in pharmacopoeia. What are they?
Hops: health benefits and virtues
> Therapeutic virtues of hops
The Amerindians have long since exploited the virtues of hops in the form of an infusion to treat insomnia and pain.
In Europe, on the other hand, the northern vine was used to relieve diarrhea, rheumatic fever, heart disease and even to lower the fever.
The properties of the native sarsaparilla are diverse.
Stimulant, tonic, diuretic, hops is indicated in the treatment of anemia, rickets and general weakness.
In addition, this perennial herbaceous vine is recommended to fight anorexia in children, gastropathies of nervous origin, dyspepsia and tremors of nervous origin.
In the case of convalescence, the northern couleuvée is also used, and as an aphrodisiac, especially in men in special cases such as premature ejaculation, erotic dreams, etc.
Asia, and more particularly in China and Japan, Japanese hops (or Humulus scandens) are :
– a traditional remedy used to treat diphtheria, typhoid and tuberculosis,
– a tonic for the genitourinary system. A true diuretic, the variety Humulus japonicus is recommended to treat premature ejaculation,
– an antibacterial. It is used to treat infections (cough, tonsillitis, malaria dysentery, mastitis, colds, cystitis).
In addition to the above-mentioned virtues other properties are attributed to hops, among them :
– sedative because it helps digestion,
– Febrifuge because it treats irritability
Hops also have a regulating effect on the capillary system.
From there, it limits hair loss by promoting excess hair.
However, its recognized virtues are mainly used to treat disorders of nervous origin and, therefore, insomnia.
Hops in the kitchen
A less known property, besides being an ingredient used to make beer, hops have also been used in baking. In fact, the production of yeast comes from the hops used to make bread.
This is what gives a soft, tender and tasty dough to our cookies and bread in the kitchen.
Since then, in the Canadian Northwest and even in Alaska, the sourdough has made it possible to make cakes, waffles, pancakes and even mufflés.
In addition, young hop shoots, cooked like asparagus, are also consumed in the culinary art.
Other uses and doses of hops
Externally, hops have been used to treat skin diseases, gout and rheumatism.
Hops ointment, on the other hand, has been used to relieve sprains, bruises, sprains and cancerous sores.
On the other hand, in the form of poultices, the hops were combined with an emollient substance to relieve the swelling.
It should be noted that in order to stimulate milk production, the consumption of devil’s wood was also recommended to nurses prone to milk deficiency.
How do you take hops?
For a naturally restful sleep, the use of hops is essential.
At home, to prepare the hops better and get the best out of them, opt for an infusion.
To do this, pour 30 grams of cones into 1 liter of water. Bring the set to a boil and then let it stand for 10 minutes.
To end insomnia, drink a decoction or infusion before going to bed.
You can also prepare in 25 cl, 1 teaspoon of female hop flowers and, leave in infusion for 7 minutes. Add all the honey you want and drink 1 cup ½ hour before going to bed.
As for the treatment of other conditions, a cup before meals is sufficient.
As for the dosage indicated for arthritis, stomach pain or rheumatism, it is recommended to heat the hop cones over a low, dry heat. Then put them in a cloth bag. Then apply to the painful parts.
You can also place them in your pillowcase to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.
NB: It is generally advisable to leave the cones to macerate for 12 to 24 hours to preserve the active ingredients of the hops.
Hops are also marketed as dry powder or extracts in capsule form.
In the capsules it is recommended to take (often in combination with valerian root), 500 mg of hops 1 to 3 times a day.
As for the tincture, an intake of 2 ml, 1 to 3 times a day is enough to relieve you.
It is good to know about hops
Hops climbing can have sedative effects.
Therefore, in the event of a capture, it is strongly recommended not to operate heavy machinery or drive.
In addition, this perennial plant can stimulate hormonal activity in women. Therefore, its consumption is contraindicated in women with breast cancer or family history.
If in doubt and for more information, consult your doctor or a pharmacist.
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