The hop plant is a native of Britain, Europe, and western Asia. It was introduced for growing commercially in New York in 1629; and in Virginia in 1648.
It is a perennial twining climber which can reach a height of 20 feet.
Hops are dioecious (meaning that individual plants are either male or female). The female cone-like flowers are what is used in herbalism and beer production. Lupulin (a yellow powder tucked into the female flower) works as a nervine (having a positive effect on the nervous system) and calming medicine.
A small pillow stuffed with dried hops brings on sleep and rest.
For a dream pillow to keep nightmares away; include hops, dill seed, lavender, and rose petals (or buds).
According to flower folklore, hops has powers of healing and sleep.
Beer Flower is hops folk name.
Hops are used in “healing” sachets and incenses.
In color floral magic, the robust green flower cones of hops are used in spells for healing, money, prosperity, luck, fertility, beauty, employment, and youth.
Referring to “herbs of the elements”, hops is of water. Water herbs have the power of love, all types of relationships, negotiations, beauty, recuperation, meditation, healing, ancestors, and home/family.
During the Civil War, hops was a medicinal herb used for treating soldiers for boils, fevers, cramps, coughs, and externally for bruises. They also used it as a sedative and antispasmodic.
In the language of flowers, when you give someone hops, it means “injustice”.
For a deep relaxation herbal bath; add hops, chamomile, sage and lavender.
In permaculture practices, hops (along with sweet pea, Russian olive, gooseberry, sunflowers, clover, strawberry, and garlic) are incorporated into a Deer Fence Guild.
The Vine Layer of ecological gardens is for climbing plants that will twine up trunks and branches, filling the unused regions with food and habitat. Hops is an important player within the vine layer.
Hops has a high wildlife and insectary value in the natural world.
Hops can be used as a natural dye. The flowers produce a variety of golds, tans, and browns.
The Romans were known to cook and eat the young shoots of the hops plant.
In Italy, the buds and tendrils still are used in soups and omelets today.
The stems of hops are very high in fiber. They can be made into rudimentary paper or are used to produce a coarse cloth.
Because of hops antibacterial strength, it is the primary active ingredient in many natural deodorants.
In the Czech Republic, they have a long tradition of curative beer “hops” baths dating to the 18th and 19th centuries. Old World aristocrats, bathed in hops water to treat ailments; such as rheumatism, respiratory diseases, and headaches.
Hops species name, lupulus, is Latin for “small wolf” referring to the vine’s nature of twining around other plants and strangling them (like a wolf does to a sheep).
Hops genus name, Humulus, comes from a Latin word meaning “soil” referring to the fact that if the plant is not supported, it rambles over the ground.
Hops were used medicinally in Europe for rheumatic joints, fevers, various heart conditions, diarrhea, and hysteria. King George III of England is said to have slept on a pillow stuffed with hops to ease his porphyria (a condition that can cause anxiety and mental illness). It is also said that Abraham Lincoln relied upon hops pillows to relax and improve sleep.
Many Native American tribes used hops to treat pain and drank it as a tea for insomnia. The Delaware tribe applied small bags of heated hops leaves to aching teeth and ears.
In herbal medicine, hops is a calming, natural sedative. The bitter flavor is also thought to help strengthen and stimulate digestion, and may ease muscle spasms in the digestive tract associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The oldest surviving written record of the use of hops in brewing dates from the year 1067.
In the year 1516, Wilhelm IV decrees all German beer must have the ingredients: malt, hops, and water. Today, Germany’s health authorities continue to approve the use of hops for “discomfort due to restlessness or anxiety and sleep disturbances”.
There is a lot research happening for the potential use of hops for the relief of menopausal symptoms (including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and insomnia).
The combination of hops and valerian has been shown in several studies to shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and reduce waking up during the night.
Hops’ estrogen-like compounds can reduce sexual libido in men while increasing it in women.
Hops is both a nerve tonic (feeds, tones, rehabilitates, and strengthens the nervous system) and a nerve sedative (relaxes the nervous system, reduces pain, eases tension, and encourages sleep).