Common Hop

The common hop is a useful herb.

Hop grows in many different areas.  It’s  a climbing plant where the shoots climb along tree trunks up to a height of 6 metres, in rare cases higher than 10  metres. A unique feature is the stalk which always twists clockwise. The greenish-reddish female flowers have hop cones which resemble tenuous fir cones. The fruits are little nuts of about 3 mm. It is noteworthy that the male hop flowers are of no particular value to humans, quite the contrary – the hop cones are more valuable when the female flower hasn't been fertilised. Male flowers obviously can't be grown nearby. The pollination of hops takes place thanks to a well-developed underground network. A strong, long rhizome has many offshoots from which a new plant can grow.

Hop cones are picked before they grow yellow and dry. The cones are then dried and put into beer according to taste. Hops give beer its characteristic colour, smell and long storage life.Hops have been used in beermaking since the 8th century, and their calming properties were discovered already in the middle ages. Although beer is less detrimental than strong coffee, hops are still recommended to be used as tea, since the effect isn't so noticeable in beer (particularly if drunk in too large quantities).  Intake of hops is recommended in moderate doses and not for prolonged periods of time, as overconsumption of hops decreases sexual activity and can cause nausea, head spins and hypnotic hallucinations. Hops have a very strong calming effect. External use eases nerve pains, rheumatic pains and joint pains. In the cosmetics industry, hops are used to give the face a fresh and glowing complexion.

Hops make for a calm heart and good sleep.  Hops contain sleep-inducing substances such as lupulone, humolone, linalool, etheric oils, labolite, resin, tannin and oestrogen-like plant hormones. Hops are also used to help children stop bedwetting.

Hops can also be used against the following ailments: insomnia, nervousness, gastric problems (nerve-related), bloated stomach, depression, menopausal problems, menstruation cramps, oestrogen deficiency, for its diuretic effect, or as an antidote to fermented alcoholic products (recommended as part of a hangover cure)

The pharmaceutically important properties are in the hop cones. To make tea, take 1-2 teaspoons of brayed hop cones. Cover in boiling water and let stand (with the lid on) for 10 minutes. Strain and drink after lunch and dinner. As a treatment for insomnia, they can be mixed with valerian, and for gastric problems with fennel, camomile and caraway.