Hops: From Beer to Brain


From Beer to Brain, Why These Wonderful Plants Can Heal You

Botanical name: Humulus lupulus

Hops: From Beer to Brain, Why These Wonderful Plants Can Heal You

If you have ever had beer then you probably know humulus lupulus, or hop. It’s time you find out what the hop can do for your health, it’s definitely much more than just drinking good beer.

Humulus lupulus is more than you think!  

This hop is a flowering plant from the Cannabaceae family, which is found in Europe, western Asia and North America. This plant grows new shoots in spring and dies again in the fall to become a hardy rhizome.

There are various types of hops out there, some include: 

  • H. I var. lupulus from Europe and western Asia 
  • H. I var. cordifolious from eastern Asia 
  • H. I var. lupuloides from east North America 
  • H. I var. neomexicanus from west North America 
  • H. I var. pubescens from Midwestern North America 

The use of hops has been traced back to the 9th century when it became the main ingredient in beer brewing. These were later added as part of medicine and antibiotic usage. 

What’s In My Hops? 

There are many chemical components of hops that play a role in its medicinal purposes. Some of these are alpha acids, beta acids, and essential oils, such as myrcene, humulene, and caryophyllene

You will also find flavonoids in these, which play an essential role in many medicinal and biochemical processes. 

So, If Not Just For Beer, What Else Are Hops For? 

Overall, Humulus lupulus is beneficial for several aspects of your health. You’d be surprised to know that the hops in beer can help you more than you imagined, but they are also extremely good in other forms. Here are some of the most important health effects of consuming hops:

  • Acne: the xanthohumol and lupulones found in hops can fight the common acne. Because hops have antioxidant properties, they help skin become clear and can fight up to 7 different acne strains. 
  • Digestion: stomach acid is important in stimulating digestion and hops can help by stimulating the body to produce more acid. Of course, don’t drink hops tea if you tend to have acid reflux. 
  • Urinary infections: because hops have antibacterial properties, when you take them constantly, they help maintain a healthy bladder. Hops can also be used as part of treatment for urinary tract infections. 
  • Pain: using hops has the ability of providing analgesic effects, when applied as oil they can help muscle, joint, and wound pain. However, taking hops can also provide a sedative quality that reduces internal pain.
  • Menopause: the 8-prenylnaringenin found in hops acts a phytoestrogen, which mimics estrogen in women. While estrogen levels are reduced during menopause, taking hops can soothe symptoms such as hot flashes, headaches, and fatigue.
  • Sexual performance: when women go through normal processes, such as pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause, sex drive is reduced significantly. The estrogen mimicking effect of this plant will allow your body to restore its sexual performance and drive.
  • Infections: this plant is a natural antibacterial because the flowers in it contain bitter acids: lupulone and humulone. These two substances can prevent the growth of bacteria by destroying its primary membrane.
  • Wounds: using hops—either as oil or cream—can help heal open wounds, bug bites, cuts, scars and other superficial skin injuries. Using Humulus lupulus can also prevent infection of the wound.
  • Hair fall and dandruff: hops contain antioxidants that help reduce hair fall. The oils in this plant also remove dead skin on the scalp, removing dandruff in the process.
  • Cardiovascular diseases: the xanthohumol—a flavonoid in hops—prevents platelet activation in human platelets. This process means a better treatment of cardiovascular diseases and a reduction in heart attack and stroke vulnerability.

Hops in Beer, Hops as Medicines, Hops for my Brain

Yes, this wonderful plant can aid your body in lots of ways, but it can also protect and stimulate your brain. Take some hops for the following cognitive health effects:

  • Anxiety: the essential oils in hops help to ease tension and symptoms of pressure and headache. They also loosen muscles around your head, which relieve physical pain. While doing this, the plant is also relaxing the mind and providing relief from stress, paranoia and even dementia.
  • Neuroprotection: because Humulus lupulus is highly antioxidant, consuming it on a daily basis can help fight off free radicals that affect our brain health and lead to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Calmness: hops are closely related to the cannabis family, which promotes a sense of relaxation and ease-of-mind that reduces nervousness in individuals.
  • Sleep: hops have been used as sedatives for sleep problems for many years. Recently, they have been added as part of treatment for insomnia as they affect the GABA neurotransmitter receptor in our brains as well as serotonin.
  • Cognition: it has been proven that consuming hops helps children and adults have better focus and calms their minds down, which in itself provides a more stimulating environment for learning and memory.
  • Stress: reducing headache, anxiety, pain, and insomnia are all factors that can help reduce stress. Taking hops can lead to a healthy mind, but also to a better reaction to certain stressful triggers.

Aside From Beer, Here’s How to Take Hops

For starters, you can add beer to your diet, but watch when you consume too much of it. Alcohol is definitely not health’s best friend, and certainly not your brain’s; so better take hops in another way too.

Some of the most common ways to consume hops include:

  • Liquid extract: hops are available as liquid extract to put in water or alcohol.
  • Capsules: you can consume capsules of hops, start with one a day, and take it right before bedtime for sleeping benefits.
  • Tea: you can prepare hop tea by adding 2 teaspoons of hops to a cup of boiling water and letting it sit for 5 minutes.

Time For Some Beer!

Remember, when taking hops you should follow the same process as with every other herbal medicine. Always ask your doctor for advice, and be careful about side effects and drug interactions. Also, don’t consume hops only in beer, as alcohol in excess harms your health more.

Now you are aware of the benefits of Humulus lupulus, it’s time for the occasional beet and the daily tea of hops. Your brain will benefit and so will your body. What do you think? Let us know if you have any questions or comments!