Do you drink beer? If yes, are you familiar with hops? Hops, with the scientific name, Humulus lupulus, is a type of plant native to Europe. It grows with stout roots, hairy stems, cone-like flowers and dark green, heart-shaped leaves that can climb up to 23 feet high. People have used hops for centuries for medicinal purposes and as a treatment for various conditions, such as arthritis, insomnia and diabetes.
In the early 14th century, people from the Netherlands discovered that hops could also be used to make beer. Since then, hops have been responsible for the beer’s bitter flavoring and used for brewing it until today. So, does this mean is it okay to drink beer? Hmm, not exactly. After all, alcohol is not a necessity to boost your health.
What exactly can hops do to your health, especially to your area down south?
Hops help balance the hormone, estrogen
You already know that estrogen is women’s most important hormone, at least when it comes to sex. Believe it or not, there are certain plants that contain chemicals called phytoestrogen that mimics the effect of estrogen naturally found in your body.
If you are looking for the ultimate plant that contains the most potent phytoestrogen, then you better be friends with hops.
Of course, hops do not have estrogen since it is your body that makes it. However, this plant has prenylnaringenin, one of the most potent phytoestrogens discovered and a natural chemical known to mimic estrogenic actions. Because of this, hops help balance your sex hormones and eventually keep your sex drive healthy. At the same time, it helps develop and stimulate breast growth and can make the lives of nursing moms easier.
1. Hops Can Cure Menstrual Disorders
In line with the estrogen benefit, hops can address menstrual disorders, too.
Take the case of menopause. Based on a study published in the Journal of Maturitas in 2006, researchers found out that the regular intake of hops offers relief from menopausal symptoms and discomforts.
In fact, the phytoestrogens, especially 8-prenylnaringenin, are doing a great job in exerting favorable effects against discomforts associated with menopause.
That’s not all. Since it mimics the natural estrogen in your body, then don’t be surprised when it provides relief, too.
2. Hops Help Get Rid Of Acne
This is good news, especially when acne from those teenage years decided to stay on your face – for good.
Don’t you find it annoying, that despite taking care of your skin, acne has its way of knocking at your door and ruining your face? When all anti-acne treatments fail, maybe you should consider hops.
A study in 2009 was conducted to test the antibacterial and antioxidant activities of hops against acne vulgaris. Researchers extracted seven naturally derived components from the said plant, including xanthohumol and lupulones. They found out that hops extracts components have strong inhibitory activities against at least five strains of acne.
That’s not all. Hops extract have high antioxidant capacities, making them an excellent treatment against acne. Not bad, don’t you think?
3. Hops Improve The Quality Of Your Sleep
There is a reason why experts recommend at least six to eight hours of sleep every night. Come on, you know you should be good to your body.
It deserves some rest, too. If you are having problems in the sleeping department, then hops can be your best friend.
Hops contain sedative effects, which can offer a restful aid in case you’re suffering from sleep disorders.
This is because this plant contains dimethylvinyl carbinol, an alcoholic compound, although minimal, offers sedative effects that can calm your body and put you to sleep. This can also offer relief against stress and anxiety. Now you know why beer can calm you down.
4. Hops As An Aphrodisiac
When was the last time you had sex? Women go through different physiological changes in the body, which includes pregnancy, menstruation and menopause.
While these are naturally occurring events, said conditions means your hormones are all over the place, thereby affecting your sex drive. If you need to keep your libido intact and your hormones in their sane state, then hormones can do the trick.
You already know about the estrogenic effect of this plant. If your sex drive is taking a toll, then taking hops can help boost estrogen in your body and restore balance among sex hormones. Once balanced, you will notice an improvement in terms of sexual arousal, vaginal lubrication and even in your orgasms. Since hops have relaxing effect, it can also help boost sexual desire and even create a mood ideal for sex.
5. Hops Aids in Digestion
Do you always feel bloated and have difficulty digesting food? Maybe your body is not producing enough stomach acid to help indigestion. If you need some help in this area, then hops can also lend a helping hand.
Drinking hops tea stimulates your body to produce more stomach acids. This acid helps break down the food you ate and enables your stomach to digest and burn the food easily – and it doesn’t stop there.
Drinking hops tea regularly is also good in treating bladder and urinary tract infections, thanks to its antibacterial properties.
Just in case you need help in food digestion and get rid of that uncomfortable feeling, you know what to do. Drink a cup of hops tea and you’ll be fine in no time.
6. Hops Help Prevent Cancer
Okay, this may need further study but it is worth noting that hops have components that can help prevent cancer.
In 2008, a study was published in The Phytotherapy Research journal about the inhibitory effects of xanthohumol, a potent ingredient found in hops, against hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines.
What does this mean? It’s simple. Hope. Yes, it may require further testing and study but this can be a good stepping-stone towards finding the cure against cancer.
7. Hops Contain Antibacterial Properties
You have to commend the ancient civilizations for constantly looking for ways to improve their health and prolong their lives.
Did you know that in the olden days, they used hops to treat various infections? Well, you have to thank the plant’s antibacterial properties.
Hops have flowers that contain bitter acids that can contribute to its antibacterial effects – lupulone and humulone. These two components can prevent the growth of gram-positive organisms by destroying the bacteria’s primary membrane.
This explains why hops are also an effective tool when you need to give your digestive system a boost. In fact, folk medicine used this plant to treat bacterial infections in the digestive and urinary tracts.
8. Hops Can Help You Lose Weight
Good news ladies and for sure, this is what you’ve been waiting for. Based on a 2012 study published in the Journal of Phytochemistry, xanthohumol – you got to love this component – helps lower your body weight.
Researchers tested the effects of xanthohumol in obese male rats and found out that those who received higher dose of hops recorded a decrease in weight and lower plasma glucose levels.
However, there was no effect on insulin, cholesterol and triglycerides levels after the experiment. Rather, the experiment concluded that hops have beneficial effects on metabolic syndrome markers.
9. Hops For External Use
Aside from all of these internal benefits, hops can also be used externally. Hops can treat burns, cuts, bug bites, bruises, small scrapes and burns – and they are good at it. Simply use a small cloth and wrap the cooled hops tea on the affected area to relieve pain and speed up the healing process. Using hops tea externally on wounds can also prevent infection.
Oh, and if you are suffering from dandruff or any other scalp issues, such as dry or itchy scalp, then hops can help, too. All you have to do is to rub the tea on your scalp to prevent and control the appearance of white specks on your hair or for relief against dry and itchy scalp.
Obviously, drinking barrels of beer is out of the question. Therefore, the best way to incorporate hops in your daily routine is by drinking hops tea.
The good news is hops tea is slowly having a place in shelves of various grocery stores, making it more accessible to you.
Just add two teaspoons of hops tea to a cup of water and let it steep for five minutes. If you plan to use it as a sedative, then stick to 500 to 1,000 mg of dried hops herb and take it by mouth.
Does this mean the hops plant is safe? Well, yes. However, it is important to take extra care when you decide to include hops in your diet. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking hops in any form. Keep in mind that alternative medicine should not substitute standard medical care.