hops

Hops: mainly used as a mild sedative, hops can help to ease anxiety and tension, calm restlessness and bring peaceful sleep ...

Common Names: Hops, Common Hop, Beer Flower

Botanical Name: Humulus lupulus

Family: Cannabaceae

Plant Type: Perennial vine

Parts Used: The conelike female flower

Flowering: July and August

Hops are found in Europe, western Asia, and North America, and are widely distributed in northern temperate zones.

Description: Hop plants are perennial, twining vines with clinging, hairy stems and deeply lobed leaves resembling those of grapes. Male and female flowers are borne on different plants. Hops are the pale green, cone-like female flower cluster (strobiles).

Cultivation: Hops needs a deep, rich soil and sunshine. Plants are taken from cuttings and planted in October or November, but do not come into full bearing until the third year.

Harvesting: The strobiles are gathered before they are fully ripe, in August and September, and must not be overheated when being dried.

Culinary Uses: Hops are the main flavoring and preservative agent for beer.

Hops Magick

Healing. Sleep.

Gender: masculine

Planet: Mars

Element: Air

Carry hops as an amulet to promote healing.

Place a sachet filled with sweet hops under your pillow to bring powerful and peaceful dreams.

In Celtic mythology, hops are associated with wolf medicine and with the power of the winter months.

Herbal Healing with Hops

Medicinal Actions: Analgesic, antibacterial, anticonvulsive, anti-inflammatory, antilithic, antipruritic, antispasmodic, aperitive, aphrodisiac (for women), astringent, blood purifier, calmative, carminative, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, emollient, estrogenic, febrifuge, galactagogue, hepatic, hypnotic, nervine, sedative, sudorific, tonic, tranquilizer, vermifuge

Medicinal Uses: Hops are used successfully in the treatment of insomnia and promote a restful nights sleep. Blended with other herbs they can effectively relieve stress, irritability, tension and headaches.  Hops are known to be good for digestion by increasing stomach secretions and stimulating appetite. They ease muscle spasms in the digestive tract and may be helpful in treating irritable bowel syndrome. Hops have a mild antiseptic action and can be used externally as a poultice to treat ulcers and inflammations.

Contraindications: Do not use hops internally if you are suffering from depression, as they may aggravate the condition.

Healing Combinations with Hops

  • Hops are calming to the digestive system and can help with indigestion and an irritable bowel. Combine it with chamomile (Chamomilla) and comfrey (Symphytum)
  • To treat anxiety, use it with valerian (Valeriana) or passionflower (Passiflora)
  • To help with insomnia, combine it with passionflower (Passiflora), wild lettuce (Lactuca), or California poppy (Eschscholzia)

Source: The Herb Handbook by Su Bristow

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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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