Herb Library: Natural Herbs and Herbal Supplements Directory: Hops





This fact sheet provides basic information about Hops. Hops is a perennial climbing vine extensively cultivated worldwide. Male and female flowers are located on separate plants; the cone-shaped fruits are known as strobiles, which are collected in the fall and carefully dried.

Hops have been used for centuries to flavor and preserve beer. The bitter, aromatic taste of beer is mostly due to the hops content. Hops extracts are also used for other flavoring purposes in the food industry. Medical uses of hops and lupulin include aiding digestion, mild sedation, diuresis, and treating menstrual problems. Hops pickers have reported sedation during harvest, and hops flowers have been added to pillows for relief of nervous conditions.

Common Names


Latin Names

Humulus lupulus

What It Is Used For

  • Hops have been used for flavoring; hops and lupulin have been used as a digestive aid, for mild sedation, diuresis, and treating menstrual problems, but no clinical studies are available to confirm these uses.

How It Is Used

Hops has been used as a mild sedative or sleep aid, with the dried strobile given in doses of 1.5 to 2 g. An extract combination with valerian, Ze 91019 ( ReDormin , Ivel ) has been studied at a hops dose of 60 mg for insomnia.

What the Science Says

  • Hops is often included in combination with valerian in sleep aids; studies of such products have found that valerian is more important to the pharmacologic activity than hops.
  • Estrogenic effects were also observed in evaluation of hops extract for the treatment of menstrual symptoms. Use of hops in breast enhancement products was cause for concern.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Patients who are allergic to hops should not use them.
  • If you are taking sedative drugs, do not take hops except under a physician's supervision.


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