Hops (Humulus lupulus)

Description: While not a traditional vine, the hops plant is a climbing plant found growing naturally in Europe, Asia, and regions of North America. Hops are the cone-like, fruiting bodies of the plant and are usually harvested from cultivated female plants. Most people know hops as the main ingredient in many beer products.

Other than being the main continuant in many beer products hops also offers a variety of medicinal benefits. It is believed that hops may be useful in
treating insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and related conditions. Hops were thought to have a sedative effect, after observing that workers in the fields were falling asleep frequently. Initially, it was thought that an oil that evaporated from the plant was the cause. However, despite the absence of this oil, dried hop preparations do appear to be somewhat calming. It seems that a sedating substance known as methylbutenol develops in the dried herb over a period of time.  Sleeping on a hops herbal pillow is useful in treating insomnia.

Useful in treatment of:

Insomnia: Hops may be useful in the treatment of insomnia, and recently have been mixed in with the stuffing of pillows to try and promote natural sleep.

When to take hops: Due to its sedative effects, hops is best reserved for nighttime. 

Dosage: The standard dosage of hops is 0.5 g taken 1 to 3 times daily.  As well as sleeping on a Hops Pillow to improve sleep quality.

Comparative study for assessing quality of life of patients with exogenous sleep disorders (temporary sleep onset and sleep interruption disorders) treated with a hops-valarian preparation and a benzodiazepine drug]
Schmitz M, Jackel M. Institut fur Psychosomatik, Wien.
Wien Med Wochenschr. 1998;148(13):291-8.
This randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial in parallel group design demonstrated equivalent efficacy and tolerability of a hop-valerian preparation compared with a benzodiazepine preparation in patients suffering from sleep disorders according to DSM-IV criteria. Sleep quality, fitness and quality of life were determined by psychometric tests, psychopathologic scales and sleep-questionnaires at the beginning of the therapy, end of therapy (duration 2 weeks) and then 1 week after cessation of therapy. Patients' state of health (4-point scale) and medication tolerability (occurrence of adverse events) were documented. Using the following as parameters "Alphabetischer Durchstreichtest, Feinmotoriktest, Befindlichkeitsskala, Beschwerdeliste, Schlaffragebogen A and B" the differences between beginning and the end of the therapy were analyzed by simultaneous testing of the equality or superiority of the test preparation. The equivalence of both therapies according to sleep quality, fitness and quality of life was proven by a Mann-Whitney-Statistic of 0.50 with a lower boundary of the 95% confidence interval of 0.46. The patients' state of health improved during therapy while showing a deterioration after cessation with both preparations. Withdrawal symptoms, however, were documented with benzodiazepine. Only one adverse drug reaction was reported during this study, namely stomach complaints from both the test and reference medication. This study shows that the investigated hop-valerian preparation in the appropriate dose is a sensible alternative to benzodiazepine for the treatment of nonchronic and non-psychiatric sleep disorders.


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