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Hops - Humulus lupulus

Cultivation of this perennial, creeping herb in Britain began in about 1520 - although it appeared earlier in the the rest of Europe. The male flowers and female cones (or strobiles) grow on separate plants. The rough stems are often found twining in and out of hedges - the coursely toothed, roughly hairy leaves are about 10-15cms long, with yellow resin glands dotting the underside. Flowering in July-Aug with greeny-yellow flowers. A volatile oil, lupulin, is formed in the glandular hairs of the strobiles.

The strobiles are most famously used for flavouring beer, and in folk remedies they are added to sleep pillows, being a mild sedative and valuable for insomnia cases. George III reportedly could not sleep without his Hop pillow! Also well known as a remedy for nerves, neuralgia, nervous headaches and restlessness, menstrual cramps, sexual neurosis (for both sexes), and is a muscle and nervous system relaxant. An infusion of hops, taken as a herbal tea, can help with nervous / irritable bowel syndrome.

A soothing, relaxing remedy can be made by simmering a handful or so of Hop cones in water for about 15 minutes to produce a strong infusion which can be added to an evening bath. Let your exhaustion, stress and sleeplessness float away......(just don’t fall asleep in the bath!)

The essential oil can help in a steam inhalation for asthmatic problems and spasmodic coughs, and has antiseptic, antimicrobial, bacteriacidal, and antispasmodic actions.

Considered an aphrodisiac.

! The essential oil is generally non-toxic - but can be narcotic in excessive amounts. Hops should be avoided by those suffering from depression !


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