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Hops

Hops (Humulus lupulus) 

Description

This dark green herb is one in a short list of potent medicinal plants native to England. It has a fibrous stalk, and can climb to lengths reaching up to a height slightly past the 20 ft mark. The interesting bit about the hops plant is the fact that only the female flowers are used for medicinal purposes. The female plant cultivates fruits that look a lot like pine cones, and these fruits; called strobiles, can grow up to 2 inches long. The hops plant has over the years been popular for its sedative qualities, being used, in many instances to treat anything from stress to insomnia. It works pretty well, and has been given a thumbs-up in terms of safety and functional quality. It has also been given the added quality of term, as an effective anti-cancer agent, based on its inhibiting capabilities that prevent the feeding of cancer cells through the creation of ‘new’ blood vessels.

 

Medical uses

The hops herb has been known to contain phyto-estrogen, which is now an active ingredient in many viable alternative therapies to hormone replacement. Many breast enlargement drugs now incorporate hops along with other herbs, and are known to be safe and risk free supplements. Hops can also be used as a kind of herbal tea, with research showing that it is very effective when used as a remedy for swelling and hardening of the uterus, as well as the subsequent reduction in the treatment of menstrual cramps. Its antibacterial agents have also been known to aid in the production of gastric juice, which, in principle, hasten the digestion process and help in improving metabolism.

Its sedative effects on the central nervous system are what make the hops plant quite a potent remedy. It has been used for many years to remedy anxiety, stress and insomnia. Formulated from dried female strobiles, the hops herb contains methylbutenol, responsible for the sedative qualities. Extracts of the hops plant have also been known to treat pulmonary tuberculosis, acute dysentery, as well as leprosy. Extracts containing lupulin have also been very effective as herbal pain relievers, and have as well, been used to remedy intestinal parasites. They are also used to treat cancerous ulcerations, treat boils, kidney stones, diarrhea, fever, cystitis and rheumatism.

 

Dosage and Administration

Hops: is taken in a dosage of about 20 drops in a glass of water, under a frequency of 3 times a day. It can also be put in a capsular, or tablet form, where the dosage would be put at around 500 milligrams. Note that the dosage here is subject to the manufacturers directions, so it is important to follow theses instructions. 20 drops may be for anxiety, while a lesser dose of about 10 drops may be for something a little less severe, or simply to aid daily digestion.

Parts used

Strobiles: fruits cultivated from the female hops plant, and the leaves.

 

Benefits

The Hops plant is known for its antidepressant capabilities, helping people get rid of anxiety and its negative implications. This herb allows people who are otherwise incapable of functioning to cool off and mellow out. It also help clean the gastro intestinal tract, hence it is a very useful aid to the digestion process. The hops plant is also an effective sedative, based on the fact that it is one of the most sought after remedies for insomnia.  

 

Side effects

Although hops have no known adverse effects, it can be potentially lethal if combined with drugs used to treat other diseases. Anxiety medication for instance can cause a reaction, with the likes of diazepam, carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, and alprazolam all making the list. People with major depression or insomnia are also advised not to use this herb, based on the fact that it’s a sedative.

Its diuretic properties may also cause it to react with certain prescription medication. Oral contraceptives don’t go to well with hops, while combining it with other sedatives may cause excessive sedation. The diuretic property may as well affect some liver enzymes, so it is advisable to consult a physician before starting any hops treatment. It has also been alleged that hops may have the effect of causing a reduction in libido for some people, as well as result in excessive perspiration tendencies.

 

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