Hops plant is a very popular herb native to Britain. The dried, flowering part of the plant is used to make medicine. The leaves are heart-shaped and lobed, on foot-stalks, and as a rule placed opposite one another on the stem, though sometimes the upper leaves are arranged singly on the stem, springing from alternate sides. They are of a dark-green colour with their edges finely toothed. Hops are perhaps best known for their use as a bitter agent in brewing beer. But hops also are a nerve sedative and hormonal agent. Because they promote stomach secretions, bitter herbs are good digestive tonics. The bitter principles in hops are particularly useful for indigestion aggravated by stress or insufficient stomach acid and for gassiness and sour burping.
The leaves of hops contain chemicals that have sedative effects. These chemicals may be beneficial in relieving anxiety and to induce relaxation and sleep. In folk medicine, Hops teas are also used to relieve the pain of bladder infections and give prompt ease to an irritable bladder. For women who suffer from serious menstrual discomfort, hops can provide some benefits. Its estrogenic effects can provide relief from hot flashes, as well as cramping and other symptoms. Tea seems to be the most highly recommended form here. Hops also have organic compounds that are thought to help fight osteoporosis and even help keep it from developing in the first place. Studies have shown that drinking beer, hop tea or taking a hops supplement can help fight bone loss and even reverse the process. Another benefit for those with osteoporosis is that hops seem to fight inflammation within the body.
As a tonic for the liver, Hops are thought to increase the flow of bile, and the herb was used historically for liver afflictions, such as jaundice. Hops are used as a diuretic and believed to relieve water retention and excess uric acid, which can lead to gout. With its antibiotic properties, Hops flowers herbal tincture are found to be beneficial for sore throats, bronchitis, infections, high fevers, toothaches and earaches.
Pregnant women should not take Hops, nor should people who suffer from depression, since the herb is thought to be a mild depressant on the higher nerve centres. Use of Hops increases the potency of anaesthetics, anxiety drugs, anticonvulsive and insomnia medications and should not be taken without first consulting a physician.