HOPS, Humulus lupulus
Some say hops were first grown in England; however, there are others who say it was first used by the Greeks and the Romans. The hops plant is a perennial vine that is dioecious; in other words, one plant is male and another plant is female. The male flower hang in loosed bunches or panicles that are 3 to 5 inches long. The female flowers or strobles are leafy, loose cones that are about an inch and a half long. When the cone is mature, it contains seeds or grain along with a yellow powder. The yellow powder a lot of lupulin which is the better principal which makes hops a great tonic and has been a medicine to mankind for centuries.
Miss Jorgensen was a school teacher who lived a long time ago. She was with, sensitive and mild-mannered. The boys in her English class were rough and rowdy. This was in the days when you couldn’t buy a lot of over-the-counter drugs to relieve stress and pain.
As the stress of her teaching continued to mount, she would cry and become very nervous. She seemed to have more and more trouble getting her much-needed rest. One day, the principal called her in to discuss her problem. Some of the students complained that she would cry and seem in coherent at times. She said, “If I could get some good sleep, I know things would get better.” Then she told the principal that her family was urging her to quit before she had to go to a mental institution. That evening, the school nurse came to the Jorgensen home and brought some herbs for some tea and a pillow in a big paper sack. The nurse made some tea out of chamomile, peppermint and other herbs. She then opened the big paper sack and took out the pillow. She told Miss Jorgensen to use the pillow for sleep, but to put it in the sack during the day to retain its effectiveness. That night she had a good sleep. It wasn’t many days until she was her happy self again.
Hops have been used in many ways to restore health. They have been used as a tonic to tone up the body, as a nervine to soothe and settle frayed nerves, as a diuretic to increase urine flow, help the kidneys and the bladder, assist with prostate problems, as a anodyne to heal and mend the body, and as a sedative to help promote and sustain sleep. For some time, hops were discredited as a nerve relaxant and an aid to sleep. However, when workers had to pick hops all day on big commercial hops farms, they would have a hard time staying awake throughout the working day. The workers were at first criticized for being lazy and not getting enough sleep at night. It was later learned that the hops powder made people sleepy. They refer to this as hops picker’s fatigue. The women pickers had a second problem. The menstrual period would arrive early.
Hops tea is sometimes used as a bitter tea to help digestion. The same herbal tea is said to be effective in helping jaundice and other liver problems. Hops tea, along with some valerian root, skullcap, black cohosh, blue vervain and mint is effective against nervous disorders including fits or seizures, neuralgia, depression, hysteria, delirium tremens, nervous exhaustion, anxiety, and illusions. As an external remedy, hops combined with chamomile flowers and poppy heads, can be made into poultice or fermentation for neuralgic pains, bruises, boils, rheumatic pains and gathering. It is also used for regular pains and inflammations. And all time spring tonics consist of hops, sassafras and sarsaparilla. This is makes a bitter tonic that will purge a sluggish liver and act as a blood cleanser. It has also been used for skin problems such as itch, ringworm, spreading sores, teeters and discolorations. The hops vine is also used as a food. In the spring, many of the young shoots are trimmed off the vine and eaten like asparagus. Considering everything, hops is very important herb.