Hops (Humulus lupulus)
Parts used: Strobiles (the leaf bracts surrounding the find flowers) and pollen
Benefits: The one thing that most people know about hops is that it’s used in beer as a flavoring and stabilizing agent. However, hops are a beautiful plant whose gold-dusted strobiles blossom in the late summer and hang from a golden green vine. It is these strobiles that contain the inconspicuous green flowers and the golden pollen grains that are the medicinal parts of the plant. Rich in lupulin, volatile oils, resins and bitters, hops is a potent medicinal herb highly valued for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. It is especially useful for hypertension and eases tension and anxiety in men, as well as decreasing excessive sexual desire! Hops is one of the most potent bitters and is excellent as a digestive bitter. It’s especially useful for indigestion due to nervous energy and anxiety.
Suggested uses: Hops are VERY bitter. Nothing disguises the taste very well, so hops is usually made into a tincture or encapsulated. To treat insomnia, mix tinctures of hops and valerian and take a dose a couple of hours before bed. Keep the tincture bottle by the bedside; that way if you wake up in the middle of the night, you can take several more dropperfuls diluted in some water. you can make your own digestive bitter tincture by combining hops with other bitter herbs, such as mugwort, motherwort, artichoke leaf, dandelion root and yellow dock.