Hops, real

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

All authors of this article

Last updated on: 06.03.2024

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Beer Hops; Cannabis lupulus; common hops; common lupulus; Glandula lupuli; Hedge Hops; Honks; Hopf; Hopping; Humulus americanus; humulus cordifolius; Humulus lupulus; humulus volubilis; lupulus humulus; Lupulus scadens.; Ordinary hops; Real hops; vulgar humulus; wild hops; Willow hops

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In Europe, Asia, North America widespread, perennial, right twining climbing plant, from the hemp family (Cannabaceae), which is known for its use in brewing beer. In Germany, cultivated varieties of the true hop are grown mainly in the Hallertau region of Bavaria, furthermore in the Elbe-Saale region.
The above-ground shoots of the hop are annual, reach growing heights of 2-6 m and die after seed ripening. The young hop shoots are very good as food. There are plants with male and plants with female flowers. Very typical are the female flowers, which look like cones ("hop cones") and stand together in dense-flowered false spikes, the so-called hop umbels. Flowering time is July/August.
Hops are mainly used for brewing beer. They give beer its distinctive aroma and typical bitterness. Only the cones of the female hop plants are used for brewing.

The dried female inflorescences (hop cones - Lupuli flos) are used phytotherapeutically.

Hops, Humulus lupulus was chosen as the medicinal plant of the year 2007. Humulus lupulus is the parent plant of the glandula lupuli, the hop glands.

Spectrum of action
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The ingredients of the hop flowers together have a calming, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and digestive effect. Furthermore, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on keratinocytes in vitro. Inhibition of the growth of Propopnibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus auereus.

Glandula Lupuli contains about 50% resinous substances from which humulone (alpha-hopbitric acid) and lupulone (beta-hopbitric acid) can be isolated. Glandula lupuli also contain essential oils, the sesquiterpene humulone, caryophyllene, myrcene, farnesene, tannins (2-4%), choline and asparagine. During storage, glandula lupuli decomposes rapidly, producing valeric acid. Hops contain small amounts of estrogenic substances, e.g. hopein (8-prenylnaringenin), which belongs to the flavonoids .

Field of application/use
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In naturopathy, hop extracts are used as sedatives (see hop cones below); also for menopausal and postmenopausal complaints. Preparations of hop cones are used as a mild soporific and sedative. Hop extracts are commercially available as ready-to-use medicines, often mixed with other herbal sedatives such as valerian. Furthermore, hops are often used for indigestion.

Nutritionally, hops are used as a bittering agent to intensify the flavour of liqueurs and essences.

In aromatherapy hop blossoms are used as "aroma cushions" or hop extracts as a bath additive.

Cosmetics: Humulus lupulus oil and Humulus lupulus cone extract are used in cosmetics.

Due to the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect also used in local therapy, in gel form, of acne.

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The fixed combination"Valerian root+hop cone+melissa leaves" made of:

has a sedative effect, is prescribed for restlessness, states of tension and sleep disorders. The combination can also be used in children under 12 years of age.

The fixed combination"Valerian root+hop cone+passion flower herb" made of:

has a sedative effect. The combination can also be used in children under 12 years of age.

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Kytta Sedativum® coated tablets, Sedacur forte® sedative coated tablets, Dr. Klinger's Bergischer Kräutertee (nerve and sedative tea), Leukona® sedative bath, Leukona® sedative bath sine chloral hydrate

For a combination with valerian to help you fall asleep, see:


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Hops were originally added to beer because of the bactericidal effectiveness of their bitter substances, which contributed significantly to its shelf life.

Fresh hop cones can cause contact allergic reactions on contact with the skin(hop picker dermatitis). Furthermore, urticarial local and systemic reactions (Pradalier A et al. 2002) and bronchial asthma (Reeb-Whitaker CK et al. 2014) can also be triggered.

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