Humulus Lupulis – Hop
Humulus lupulis; Eng: Hop; Ita: Luppolo; Ger:Hopfen; Fr: Houblon, Sp:Hombrecillo; Chi:Lei-mei-ts’ao
Habitat: Humulus grows in Europe and Asia. It grows on hedgerows, thickets and open woods. Humulus is a climbing perennial. The annual stems twist in a clockwise direction, growing up to 6m tall. It has sharply-toothed leaves with a rough surface. The flowers are dioecious.
Parts used: The dried strobiles from the female plant.
Harvest: The strobiles are picked before they are ripe in August-September. The strobile can be stored for not longer than a year because the lupulin is prone to oxidation.
Constituents: Up to 1% volatile oil: humulene, myrcene, caryophylline, farnescene; 15-25% resinous bitters and phloroglucinol: alpha acids: humulone, cohumulone, adhumulone, valerianic acid; beta acids: lupulone, colupulone, adlupulone; condensed tannins, phenolic acids, flavonoid glycosides: astralagin, quercitin, rutin; fats, amino acids, oestrogenic substances, choline, asparagin; lupulin (oil, bitter resin).
Actions: Sedative, soporific, visceral spasmolytic, aromatic bitter, digestive tonic, hypnotic, astringent, diuretic, anti-oxytocic, male anaphrodisiac; topically bactericidal, locally antiseptic
Indications: Neuralgia, insomnia, excitability, priapism, mucous colitis, anorexia; topically for crural ulcers. Specifically indicated in restlessness associated with nervous tension headache and/or indigestion.
Uses: Humulus alleviates tension and anxiety that results in restlessness, headache and indigestion. Humulus is a central nervous system relaxant used to treat of insomnia. Humulus is digestive and astringent and has a relaxing action on smooth muscle and it is useful in case of internal organ tension, such as nervous dyspepsia, nervous colitis or mucous colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease palpitations, nervous or irritable coughs, and asthma. Humulone and lupulone have an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action on bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, particularly affecting gram-positive bacteria. Humulus is used in the treatment of infections of the upper digestive tract, ulcers, skin eruptions and wounds. Humulus has been used in the treatment of premature ejaculation and priapism. Female hop-pickers noticed the effect of the plant on the reproductive system as they suffered absent menstruation whilst working with the plants due to the absorption of the oil through their hands. Humulus is also used as a diuretic, for bladder inflammation, jaundice and other liver complaints, and it has a hypo-tensive effect.
Other uses: Humulus is one of the main ingredient in beers. Hop pillows are used to help to induce relaxation.
Caution: Humulus acts as a mild depressive on the higher nerve centres and is therefore contraindicated in depression. Its sedative effects may potentiate the effects of existing sedative therapy and alcohol. The pollen from the strobiles may cause contact dermatitis and the strobiles themselves rapidly lose their effectiveness with storage. Chronic exposure to hops by those who work with them has led to nausea, vomiting, abnormal sweating, somnolence, agitation, fever, bradycardia, mydriasis, and skin reactions such as erythema, conjunctivitis and pustular dermatitis. Care should be taken as its oestrogenic and anti-oxytocic action may result in loss of libido.
Dosage: Dried:1g by infusion; Tincture 1:5: 1-2ml max 3 times a day.
Combinations: Humulus combines well with Valeriana officinalis as an hypnotic and with Maricaria recutita for nervous dyspepsia.
by Xilef Welner