If you’ve ever experienced a slightly sleepy sense of relaxation after drinking a particularly hoppy beer, then you already know a bit about what hops are capable of. Besides acting as a reliable sedative, this herb can ease nervous tension and anxiety, promote healthy digestion, and relieve bladder pain. In menopause, hops can alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes.
Parts Used: Flowers
Precautions: Because hops contain a potent plant estrogen called 8-prenylnaringenin, they should not be given to prepubescent children of either gender. Hops are also dangerous for dogs.
Identifying/ Growing: Hops grow on long vines called bines, which can grow to a length of more than 25 feet. Rarely found in the wild, these lush green plants are typically cultivated by commercial hops growers, who rely on stout trellises to support the bines and keep them well aerated. The medicinal portion of hops is the female flower, which is pale green, with a cone-like shape. If you have a sunny spot and vertical space for a stout trellis that can support at least 25 pounds, then you may be able to cultivate hops at home. You’ll need to grow at least two varieties to allow for cross-pollination, so plan accordingly. Plant the rhizomes in spring, after all danger of frost. Water them frequently and harvest the hops when the cones are filled with a thick, golden powder.