The Hop (HumulusLupulus, Linn.) is a native British plant, having affinities, botanically speaking, with the group of plants to which the Stinging Nettles belongs. It is found in most countries of the North Temperate Zone. The root is stout and perennial. The stem that arises from it every year is of a twining nature, reaching a great length, flexible and very tough, angled and prickly, with a tenacious fiber, which has enabled it to be employed to some extent in Sweden in the manufacture of a coarse kind of cloth, white and durable, though the fibers are so difficult of separation, that the stems require to be steeped in water a whole winter. Paper has also been made from the stem, or bine, as it is termed.
The male flowers are in loose bunches or panicles, 3 to 5 inches long. The female flowers are in leafy cone-like catkins, called strobiles. Much of the value of Hops depends on the abundance of this powdery substance, which contains 10 per cent of Lupulin, the bitter principle to which Hops owe much of their tonic properties.
Hops are a medicinal herb that is packed with antioxidants and vitamins E, A, C and B-complex. Pakistan needs to develop knowledge about this herbal and increased the understanding the medicinal properties of hops, scientific and clinical findings point to the possibility of hops becoming even more widely used in the future both in medicine as well as in nutrition. New uses as food for health are just as conceivable as the processing of individual hops components in pure form for use as dietary supplements and medicines. Hops have tonic, nervine, diuretic and anodyne properties. Their volatile oil produces sedative and soporific effects, and the Lupamaric acid or bitter principle is stomachic and tonic. For this reason hops improve the appetite and promote sleep. They have a calming and sedative effect on the nervous system and are commonly recommended for anxiety, nervousness, hyperactivity, neuralgia, restlessness, panic attacks, nervous diarrhea, and insomnia.
Hops also contain estrogenic properties and can provide relief from PMS, cramping, bloating, and hot flashes. They are also known to be particularly beneficial for headaches, nervous tension, intestinal cramps, stress, earaches, toothaches, colitis, neuritis, shock, poor circulation, and liver ailments. They also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties which make it a good herb for people who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, guillain-barre, lupus, bursitis, and diabetes.
Hops are a natural diuretic and are helpful in removing water retention and excess uric acid. They are also excellent for helping to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Hops can help stimulate the appetite and improve digestion when taken an hour before a meal.
Topically, hops are used as a remedy for painful swellings, ringworm, tumors, and leg ulcers in people who have poor leg circulation and varicose veins.
They also topically work as a treatment for dandruff and are often found as an active ingredient in natural shampoos and conditioners.
It has proved of great service also in heart disease, fits, neuralgia and nervous disorders, besides being a useful tonic in indigestion, jaundice, and stomach and liver affections generally. It gives prompt ease to an irritable bladder, and is said to be an excellent drink in cases of delirium tremens. An infusion of the leaves, strobilus and stalks, as hop tea, taken by the wineglassful two or three times daily in the early spring, is good for sluggish livers.
Hops external remedy, an infusion of Hops is much in demand in combination with chamomile flowers or poppy heads as a fomentation for swelling of a painful nature, inflammation, neuralgic and rheumatic pains, bruises, boils and gatherings. It removes pain and allays inflammation inHops is sometimes applied to the skin for leg ulcers and as an antibacterial agent. In foods and beverages, the extracts and oil are used as flavor components.
The bitter principle in the Hop proves one of the most efficacious vegetable bitters obtainable. Due to the limited research work, its need for work of this valuable herbal for soon to recommend hops supplements as a treatment for any health condition. Northern areas are very favour climate for cultivation of this herbal. So its need for raising this herbal crop in green houses and local nursery development.
Hope is future needing herbal crop for its multi nutritional effects on human body.
The authors are associated with the Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agricultural Faisalabad, Pakistan.