- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Natural Home Remedies Hops
Here's A Delightful Collection Of Photos Of Hops.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Do You Know What Hops Is?
Hops is a vine and herb. The female seed pods of the plant are what is commonly known as hops and it is these seed pods that are used to make beer. It is the hops that gives beer it's distinctive bitter flavor. Hops are used in other beverages and in herbal medicines.
Hops were first cultivated in Bavaria and other parts of Europe as early as the sixth century. After research I found that the first documented use of hops as a bittering agent in beer was in the 11th century. What I bet you didn't know is that before this beer brewers used other plants and flowers like dandelions, burdock root, marigolds, and horehound.What got brewers using hops for a bittering agent more was the simple fact that beer made with hops was better for you. And it didn't spoil nearly as fast as beer that was made with other bittering agents did.
The hop vine is a vigorous growing vine that is usually trained to grow up lines and up towers so the female flower pods can be easily harvested. There are many varieties of hops grown around the world and different types of hops are used to make different types of beer.
The very first case of commercially grown hops was in 736 in present day Germany. It was not until 1079 that hops was first used to brew beer in Germany. But it was not until the 13th century that hobs replaced gruit ( A Herbal Mixture ) that had been used to flavor beer for hundreds of years. And as they say history is repeating it's self and some breweries in the United States and Europe are once again using gruit ( various herbal blends ) to flavor and make beer once again. Mead has become very popular once again in the United States. Mead is beer made from honey. And with the big interest into the health benefits of honey mead is becoming popular especially with the health conscious.
Sonoma County in California was at one time one of the largest producers of hops in the United States. You'll still find a lot of hops grown in Sonoma County though a lot of the hops grown there now is used by micro breweries in northern California and Oregon. Some of the micro breweries in this area are producing some unique tasting and popular beers. There are also a lot of micro breweries in North Carolina.
The major commercial use for hops is in making beer. Though you will find hops used in making Julmust which is a carbonated popular soda sold mainly in the month of December in Sweden. Hops are also used to make Malta which is a popular soft drink in Latin American countries. Hops are also being used as a flavoring agent in some blended teas.
As with grapes the hops flavor is influenced by the ground where it is grown. Quite often a beer is named for the area where the hops that it was brewed from was grown.
Medicinal Properties of Hops
Many people don't know about the medicinal properties of hops. Hops are used in herbal medicine in much the same way as valerian. Hops are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness. In many parts of the world a pillow filled with dried hops was used to help people fall asleep more quickly.
I don't know about a pillar but I do know that if you blend dried hops with fresh cut catnip that you can make a tea that will not only help you get to sleep but it will help you to stay asleep. Being able to stay asleep is very important. The catnip will help you get to sleep and the hops will help you to stay asleep.
Dimethylvinyl carbinol. which is the active agent found in hops is what relaxes you and it's also what helps you to stay asleep. You need to keep your hops tightly covered and in a cool dark place because hops tend to lose their potency quickly when exposed to air or light.
You should keep in mind that hops are toxic to dogs so you want to be sure that your dog doesn't eat or chew on your hop plants or the female hop flower pods. Dermatitis can also be caused in about 3 percent of people who harvest hops so wear plastic gloves when you harvest your hops. People who harvest hops commercially can develop skin lesions and dermatitis and so you should wear long sleeve shirts and plastic gloves when you harvest hops. If you find yourself with skin lesions or dermatitis stop touching hops and the problem should go away quickly. If it does not get your doctor to refer you to a dermatologist.
Some people dry hops and smoke it. They say it gives them a similar effect to marijuana. In ancient Greek and Roman times hops was smoked and inhaled as a anticonvulsant, a sedative and to relax people. It was also made into a tea and steeped. It's very important that you understand how to steep herbs like hops. When you are making a herbal tea from a herb like hops you should put green plant material from the plant in a teapot and bring the water up to the point of boiling but you immediately set the pot off the stove and allow it to set for 10-15 minutes. The active ingredients in the herbs will leach out into the water as it steeps and will give you more of a good effect than if you boiled he herb.
Hops And Catnip Sleep Tea
You can put 3 ounces of green hops and 3 ounces of green catnip plant and flowers into a tea kettle and let the water almost come to a boil but not quite. After it steeps for 10-15 minutes you can bring the liquid back up to almost a boil and then strain your tea and add a tablespoon of honey to your sleep tea and stir it up well. This tea has been used in the old American south for hundreds of years to help people get to sleep. The honey is really good for you and you can also add fresh squeezed lemon juice also.
So What Have You Learned About Hops?
Hops is a very important herbal or medicinal plant and it has long been used for it's sedative powers. Research in 1983 revealed for the first time officially that hops does indeed have a chemical that causes a sedative reaction in humans. Keep in mind that a sedative relaxes you and does not put you to sleep. You need to combine hops with another herb like catnip to enhance it's effect and help people to get to sleep and stay asleep. Incidentally the chemical that causes you to relax increases in hops when the plant is dried. Sedatives also help to relieve anxiety. Hops is now being used as a tea to relieve anxiety. There are commercial products being sold for that purpose that do contain hops but be sure that you read the label. If the product contains additives or fillers you are better off to purchase plain hops and make your own hops tea to relieve anxiety.
Herbal Tea Ball.
Everyone who is going to be making herbal teas needs one of the little metal tea balls that is filled with holes and you unscrew it in the middle to put the herbs in your going to be making your tea out of. You also need to learn to steep your herbal teas and not boil them. This is so very important. Put your herbs in the tea ball and then bring your tea water up to a boil and then set it off the burner. Allow your tea to steep for 10-12 minutes and then remove the tea ball. Let your water come back up to near boiling and then turn the heat off. Stir honey and lemon into the tea and drink as soon as possible. You'll find that tea made this way will have much more medicinal effect on you than teas made any other way.
Women going Through Menopause And People Suffering From Arthritis.
Women who are going through menopause will benefit from the sedative calming powers of hops tea. Just be sure that you steep the tea and make it correctly. What you may not know is that hops contains a chemical that is very similar to estrogen. Because of this hops will relieve many of the symptoms of menopause. The same research revealed that hops tea may also relieve the pain of arthritis. It's been revealed that there are certain chemicals that occur naturally in hops that can and do relieve inflammation related to arthritis.
Hops As A Dandruff Treatment
Do you know that you can wash your hair with hops tea and get rid of dandruff. Hops tea has been used in Europe for years as an effective treatment for dandruff. People using hops tea as an effective dandruff treatment make the hops tea and then they wash their hair with it and wait 10 minutes before they wash their hair with regular shampoo.
Hops As A Cancer Preventive
Researchers at the University of Oregon found after careful research that Hops contains flavonoids that may help to prevent breast cancer, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer. This was a recent study and the researchers said that the tea of hops when correctly steeped may indeed prevent these cancers. This is again a place where you need to be careful. Don't buy hops tea unless it is 100 percent natural with no additives. This is another reason that it's so important to read product labels. Keep in mind that you only want herbal products that are 100 percent natural with no fillers or additives. Be sure that you read the product label and be sure you understand what it says.
Finally the FDA has said that Hops is safe but it should be avoided by women who are pregnant or breast feeding.
Hops is also one of those herbs that while safe can cause diarrhea or vomiting if you take to large a dose of the herb. If you find yourself experiencing either symptom back off the hops and take less. If it continues to produce these symptoms in you stop taking it.
Thank You For Reading My Hub Page On Hops
Be sure that you do not give hops to women who are breast feeding or pregnant and it should not be given to children under 2 years of age. Hops as any herb should be used with caution. Use care and discuss your use of any herb with your doctor or a herbal practitioner. And always do your own research and read labels. Always read labels on any herbal product. Don't use products with fillers or additives. Know what you are taking.
Thomas Byers has been an award winning Chef, Writer, and Herbal Researcher for over thirty years now. He has won over $50.000 in Chili Cook Off Contests. CLICK HERE for one of his favorite chili recipes.