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Hops (Humulus lupulus L.)

Updated on December 18, 2011
Hops (Humulus lupulus L.)
Hops (Humulus lupulus L.) | Source

This plant is widely cultivated, because it is the second most important ingredient in beer. (The first is malt). It is also quite often seen in the wild, around moist places like rivers and lakes.

Hops is climbing herb, quite long. Some species climb up to 6 meters. There are male and female plants. Males have small broom-like stamens with a lot of pollens. Females have pretty soft green cones that later grow in egg-like nuts. Both male and female plants bloom between July and August and need quite a work from bees and wasps to be pollinated.

Useable part

The green female cones are gathered before they start opening (before blooming). The scales of the green cones prior opening are rich on glands secreting yellow resin with bitter taste and specific aroma.

Hops cones drying is done at no more than 35 degrees Celsius (95 F) and in shadow. Sunlight dries the resin too much to a not useful hard mass. Dried hops need to be used in no more than 3 months or they lose their abilities.

Health benefits

  • Hops resins are as potent as Valerian for anxiety and insomnia.
  • Stress reliever (figures :D)
  • Potent diuretic
  • Calms and relieves headache
  • Melts and cleans small stones from the kidneys (size of a sand grain)

Preparation of infusions and extracts

Infusion is made by crushing 2 cones of hops and pouring them with 1 pint boiling water. Leave for 2 hours covered with a lid. Resin is not easy to pass in pure water. It is better prepared as an extract ...

  1. Put 1 crushed hops cone in a bottle of red wine, put the cork screw back and leave far from sunlight for a little bit more than 1 week.The resulting extract can be drank as an aperitif before meals, having the same properties as the infusion, but more potent.
  2. Crush 2 hops cones and put them in a pot. Get an ounce of butter, olive oil or lard in the pot and heat them in water bath for 30 minutes. Let it cool and keep in an ointment bottle (or box, in case you use butter). The resulting ointment is very good for skin rashes and keratosis.

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