Humulus lupulus (generic name)
treats Sedation, Menopausal symptoms, Insomnia/sleep quality, and Rheumatic diseases
Table of Contents
Top Learning Centers(Recursos en Español)
Alternate TitleHumulus lupulus L.
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
2-methy-3-butene-2-ol, 8-PN, 8-prenylnaringenin, beer, Cannabaceae (family), colupulone, common hops, European hops, hop, hop strobile, Hopfen (German), houblon (French), humulon, humulus, Humulus lupulus, iso-alpha-acids, lupulin, lupulus, Lupuli strobulus, prenylated 2´-hydroxychalcones, prenylflavonoids, spent hops, xanthohumol, Ze 91019.
The hop is a member of the Cannabaceae family, traditionally used for relaxation, sedation, and to treat insomnia. A number of methodologically weak human trials have investigated hops in combination with valerian (Valeriana officinalis) for the treatment of sleep disturbances, and several animal studies have examined the sedative properties of hops alone. However, the results of these studies are equivocal, and there is currently insufficient evidence to recommend hops alone or in combination for any medical condition.
Hops are also sometimes found in combination products with passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), skullcap (potentially damaging to the liver), or with a high percentage of alcohol (up to 70% grain alcohol), confounding the association between the herb and possible sedative or hypnotic effects.
Hops contain phytoestrogens that may possess estrogen receptor agonist or antagonist properties with unclear effects on hormone-sensitive conditions, such as breast, uterine, cervical, or prostate cancer or endometriosis.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Animal studies report that hops may have sedative and sleep-enhancing (hypnotic) effects. However, little human research has evaluated the effects of hops on sleep quality. Further study is needed in this area before a strong recommendation can be made.
When used in combination with other products, hops may help alleviate menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and difficulty sleeping, because it has estrogen-like activity. However, until more well-designed studies are performed, a strong recommendation cannot be made.
Early clinical research suggests that a combination formula containing hops may help reduce symptoms of rheumatic diseases, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. However, well-designed human trials using hops alone are needed to determine if these positive effects are specifically the result of hops.
Hops have been used traditionally as a sedative, for relaxation and reduction of anxiety. Although some animal studies suggest possible sedative properties, there is limited human research in this area. Better studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Analgesic, antidepressant, antibacterial (antimycobacterial), antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral (anti-HCV, anti-Rhino, anti-herpes virus), anxiety, aphrodisiac, appetite stimulant, asbestosis, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), atopic dermatitis, breast enhancer, cancer (breast, uterine, cervical, prostate), Crohn's disease, depression, diabetes, digestion, dysentery, dyspepsia, Epstein-Barr virus, estrogen-like activity, heartburn, high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney disorders, leprosy, leukemia (HL-60 ), mood disturbances, muscle spasm, nervous disorders, obesity, osteoporosis, pain, parasites and worms, restlessness, skin ulcers (topical), spine problems (scoliosis), tuberculosis.
Adults (18 years and older)
For insomnia or sleep disturbances, studies have used 300 to 400 milligrams of hops extract combined with 240 to 300 milligrams of valerian extract, taken by mouth before bed. Traditionally, doses of 0.5 to 1.0 gram of dried hops extract or 0.5 to 1.0 milliliter of liquid hops extract (1:1 in 45% alcohol) have been taken up to three times daily, although using hops alone has not been well studied.
Intravenous/intramuscular dosing is not recommended.
Children (younger than 18 years)
Hops extract is traditionally considered to be one of the milder sedative herbs and to be safe for children. However, there is limited research in this area and safety has not been clearly established.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Rash (contact dermatitis) and difficulty breathing have been reported mainly in hops harvesters. Allergy to hops pollen has also been reported. Hops allergy has been reported in a patient with previous severe allergic reactions to peanut, chestnut, and banana. Therefore people allergic to any of these agents should avoid hops.
Side Effects and Warnings
Dry cough, difficulty breathing, chronic bronchitis, and other occupational respiratory diseases have been associated with hops. Dust from hops can contain harmful bacteria. Long-term breathing problems have been reported.
Hops may cause mild central nervous system (CNS) depression (drowsiness, slowed breathing and thinking), especially when taken with drugs or herbs/supplements that also cause CNS depression. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
Eating hops in large quantities may cause seizure, hyperthermia, restlessness, vomiting, stomach pain, and increased stomach acid. It is unclear what effects may occur in hormone-sensitive conditions such as cancer (breast, uterine, cervical, prostate) or endometriosis.
Hops may lower blood sugar levels in normal individuals, but may actually increase blood sugar in those with diabetes. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Hops are not recommended during pregnancy or lactation due to possible hormonal and sedative effects. Limited research is available in these areas. Many tinctures contain high levels of alcohol and should be avoided during pregnancy.