Hops (Pi Jiu Hua)

Botanical Name: Humulus lupulus

Besides being used to make beer, hops are best known for aiding sleep and mildly sedating. They also help reduce anxiety and have important anti-inflammatory properties.

Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – Hops: Its Ancient History.

Below is an overview of hops, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of hops.

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Western Name: Hops

Also Known As: N/A

Organs/Systems: Digestive, Nervous

Key Actions: Relaxant, Sedative, Antibacterial, Digestive

Medicinal Uses: Insomnia, restlessness, irritability, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), lower blood pressure, relieve hot flashes.


Pin Yin: Pi Jiu Hua

Also Known As: N/A

Meridians: Heart, Liver, Stomach

Key Actions: Clears Heat, Calms Shen, Regulates Liver Qi, Promotes urination, Softens Stones, Reduces Inflammation, Clears Toxins

Medicinal Uses: Insomnia, palpitations, unrest, ringing in the ears fever in the Shao Yang Stage, nervous tension, spasmodic asthma, scanty urine, pain, hot flashes, poor appetite, fatigue, urinary tract infections, boils, herpes, eczema, ringworm, scurvy, acne.

Basic Habitat / Botany:

Hops are vigorous, climbing herbaceous perennials, trained to grow up strings when grown commercially. The “hop” is the green cone around the female flower. Botanically, hops are a distant relative of stinging nettles and cannabis. The vines can grow up to 30 feet long.

74% of US hops grow in the state of Washington. Hops are believed to have originated in Egypt and spread to Asia and Europe.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Dried Flower, The Hop (Cone and Grain of the Hop Flower)

Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Astringent, Pungent, Cold

Caution: Considered safe.

Key Constituents: Resin, Tannins, Flavonoids, Lupulone, Humulene, Essential oils

History/Folklore: Hops are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer. However, they also have medicinal properties. Their antibacterial properties support health and the action of the brewer’s yeast used in beer. These properties help keep the beer from spoiling. The many different varieties of hops are one factor that lends hop beers their unique flavors and styles.

Inside the hops are golden grains that form a sticky greenish-yellow powder. Hops have been used for centuries to produce beer, even as far back as over 10,000 years in Asia, where it spread to Eastern Europe. Hops were introduced to England by the Dutch farmers. It is believed that hops originated in Egypt.

The Sumerian goddess Ninkasi was the goddess of brewing and beer. The Romans said that hops grew “wild among the willows, like wolves among sheep,” hence the name Lupulus (derived from the Latin word for wolf).

The ancient Hebrews used hops to help ward off the plague and in North America, the Native American Indians used hops to sleep, soothe toothaches, and improve digestion. These purposes did not catch on in Europe until more recently, as hops were mostly used to brew beer and not particularly used as medicines.

Hops were first mentioned in European writings in 1079 by Abbess Hildegarde of St Ruprechtsberg, who recommended hops as the grain for brewing beer. Because most beer was produced by monks during the Middle Ages, there are many records of hops and hop gardens in monastic writings.

Hops have a tradition of suppressing the libido, so teas made from hops were recommended to young male monks to help them remain chaste and celibate.

Hops tend to be unstable when exposed to light or air and lose their potency after a few months of storage.

Hops are used in cosmetics for their calming and antioxidant properties.

Hops and cannabis (Cannabis sativa) are considered to be closely related plants. While both can be smoked, hops are much harsher on the throat and do not contain the enzymes that convert into active THC or CBD, the compounds found in cannabis that are associated with getting high. They both taste and smell very similar to each other. Smoking hops can cause sleepiness and slowed breath.

You can also cook, bake, and marinate hops to make wonderful culinary dishes!

Did you know?

Bitter Resin

80% of hop grains are a bitter resin.


Treat Anxiety

Hops are used in a similar way as valerian as a treatment for anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia.

Fun fact!

Helps Sleep Disorders

A pillow filled with hops is an old folk remedy for sleep disorders and research has shown it is effective.

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ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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