lupulo (Mexican); chmiel (Polish);
lupulo, Flor de cervesa
Tall, spindly, clinging vine reaching a height of 15-30
The flowers are
The female flowers are
enclosed in strobiles.
The male flowers hang in
6- to 10-inch narrow bract pairs.
The leaves are bright
green, opposite, usually 3-5 heart-shaped lobes with
coarsely serrated edges resembling grape leaves, with long
The fruit are conical
strobile, 11 inches long.
Blooms from July to
Cultivation: Easily grown
in a good garden soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a deep
rich loam and a warm sheltered position. Plants can succeed
in dry shade if plenty of humus is incorporated into the
soil, once established they are also somewhat drought
tolerant. Hops are reported to tolerate an annual
precipitation of between 31 and 137cm and a pH of 4.5 to
Plants are very hardy
tolerating temperatures down to about 12°F when dormant. The
young shoots in spring, however, can be damaged by any more
than a mild frost.
A climbing plant,
supporting itself by twining around the branches of other
Hops are frequently
cultivated, both commercially and on a domestic scale, in
temperate zones for their seed heads which have many
medicinal qualities and are also used as a flavoring and
preservative in beer. There are many named varieties. They
grow best between the latitudes of 35 - 51°N and 34 - 43°S,
with mean summer temperatures of 48 - 50°F. Generally, for
beer making, the unfertilized seed heads are preferred and
so most male plants are weeded out.. Hops are fairly deep
rooted, but with a network of shallow feeding roots. These
horizontal feeding roots spread out at depth of 20 - 30 cm
in the soil and give rise to fibrous roots in upper layers
of soil. The vertical roots develop downwards to a depth of
about 150 cm with a spread of 183 - 244 cm and have no
The bruised leaves are
refreshingly aromatic whilst the flowers cast a pleasing
A food plant for many
Dioecious. Male and female
plants must be grown if seed is required.
Seed - sow spring in a
cold frame. Germination is fairly quick. Prick out the
seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large
enough to handle and plant out in the summer or following
Division in spring as new
growth begins. Very easy, you can plant the divisions
straight out into their permanent positions if required.
Basal cuttings in March.
Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm long with
plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots
and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse
until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
The female cones are gathered as they start to ripen and are
not yet brown and dried at 72-82F.
This opens up the
inflorescence and the hop glands which secrete the sticky
yellow hop flour, drop out.
The herb has an aromatic
smell and a spicy, slightly bitter taste.
Young shoots are cut in
spring for culinary use.
Roman historian Pliny dubbed hops
or wolf, after noticing the way it twines tightly around
The word hops comes from
Hops were grown by the
Romans but were not widely cultivated until the 9th
and 10th centuries, mostly in
In less than 100 years, a
new drink called bier
made from Bavarian hops became famous.
It was developed after
hops was added to bread to encourage fermentation and
preservation. Since bread was sometimes used in brewing, it
was discovered that hops increases beer’s alcohol content.
The English preferred to
sleep on hops pillows instead. Henry VIII warned that hops
was a wicked weed that “would spoil the taste of the drink
and endanger the people” and forbade its use.
In the 17th
century, English herbalist John Evelyn was still claiming
the ingesting hops could result in disease, melancholy and a
In Russia, the word
describes both the herb and a slightly drunk person.
Appearing in folk wedding
songs throughout Poland, hops is
always associated with strong and enduring, as well as with
oil, about 0.4-0.85%, composed mainly of humulene
(caryophyllene) with ß-caryophyllene, myrcene, farnesene,
2,3,5-trithiahexane and similar compounds; with traces of
acids such as 2-methylpropanoic and 3-methylbutanoic, which
increases significantly in concentration in stored extracts;
flavonols maily glycosides of kaempferol and quercitin;
resin, about 30-12%, composed of bitter acids such as
humulone, cohumulone, adhumulone and others; and ß-bitter
acids such as lupulene, colupulone, adlupulone, etc;
Estrogenic substances of undetermined structure; tannins;
lipids; the chalcone xanthohumol and others.
sedative, hypnotic, bitter tonic, antiseptic
strobiles of hops are mildly sedative and diuretic.
They are a bitter
digestive that is especially suited for treating nervous
indigestion, ulcers, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome and
Crohn’s disease. They relax nerves and smooth muscles,
especially in the digestive tract, within 20-40 minutes
A 1980 study suggested
that they contain a muscle-relaxing constituent in addition
to lupulin, which had been assumed to be the only active
agents, responsible for preserving bread and beer, also
fight digestive tract infections.
Hormonal effects from
estrogen-like compounds were first noted when female hops
pickers experienced changes in their menstrual cycles (some
even stopped menstruating) after absorbing quantities of the
essential oil through their hands.
Aphrodisiacal effects were
observed in men. Regular doses of the herb can help regulate
the menstrual cycle.
GLA which also occurs in
evening primrose oil, has been found in hops, suggesting its
usefulness for PMS and menstrual problems, especially muscle
cramps, headaches, and sore breaks.
Hops also helps
A hops poultice can relive
the pain and inflammation of earache or toothache.
have shown that hops tinctures are more stable than dried
hops, which quickly degrades with exposure to light and
Externally used for skin
infections, eczema, herpes, and leg ulcers.
Combined with Valerian as
a sedative and Roman Chamomile or Peppermint for nervous
Infusion: for insomnia,
drink one cup at night
make a sachet with 100g dried herb.
Put inside a pillow to aid
Tablets: take for stress or
Tincture: For excessive anxiety,
take 20 drops diluted in a glass of water 3 times a day. For
digestive headaches, take 10 drops with water up to 5 times
to stimulate the appetite, take a 500mg capsule 3 times a
day before meals.
It is a delicate herb and
should be used fresh or freshly tinctured.
1 cotton or linen pouch (2 ¾ in x ¾
2 ¾ oz hop cones, dried
1 oz catnip leaves, dried
¾ oz linden flowers, dried
Combine the plants and insert into the cloth pouch.
Slide the pouch inside your pillow to induce
Essential oil by steam
distillation from the dried cones or catkins, known as
An absolute is also
produced by solvent extraction for perfumery use.
CHARACTERISTICS: a pale yellow to
reddish-amber liquid with a rich, spicy-sweet odor.
BLENDS WELL WITH: pine, hyacinth,
nutmeg, copaiba balsam, citrus and spice oils
ACTIONS: anodyne, aphrodisiac,
antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent,
bactericidal, carminative, diuretic, emollient, estrogenic
properties, hypnotic, nervine, sedative, soporific
rashes, rough skin, ulcers
Genito-urinary and endocrine
menstrual cramp, supports female estrogens, promotes
feminine characteristics, reduces sexual overactivity.
insomnia, nervous tension, neuralgia, stress-related
as a fragrance ingredient in perfumes, especially spicy or
Used in flavor work in
tobacco, sauces and spice products, but mainly in alcoholic
drinks, especially beer.
Not given to patients with
a history of depression.
hops are added to sleep pillows.
Used in perfumes of the
Hops can be used for
basketry and wickerwork.
The fiber is also good for
Part Used: Fruit.
Basic Power: Healing.
Hops can be mixed with
most other herbes associated with dream magick and put in
It is believed that hops
increases the restfulness and serenity of your dreaming
Hops may be brought into
rituals which honor the gods and goddesses who brought the
gifts of ale and beer to humankind.
Healing incenses and
A pillow stuffed with the
dried herb helps bring on sleep.
in skin softening creams and lotions, its effectiveness is
possibly due to hormonal actions. From the newly opened
flowers, an otto is distilled which is an astringent skin
lotion and gives a pleasing fragrance in perfume.
Hops Hair Potion
½ cup mayonnaise
1 qt water
Boil hops and water for
Wet hair with this
mixture, capturing it is a basin and rewetting it again.
Rub in the mayonnaise and
wrap with a terry towel for an hour or so.
Shampoo as usual.
shoots are eaten raw or cooked like asparagus.
Hops are the main
flavoring in beers.
Distilled oil and extracts
are also used in food flavorings and soft drinks.
9 inch pastry crust
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ½ oz butter or margarine
½ pint milk
small bay leaf
1 oz flour
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp double cream
6 oz young hop shoots chopped and
lightly poached in boiling salted water
salt and pepper
sprinkling of nutmeg
Prick the bottom of
the crust with a fork and leave in the refrigerator.
Melt the butter and cook
the onion until soft but not brown.
While it is cooking, warm
milk with bay leaf and leave to infuse for a few minutes.
Stir the flour into the
butter and onion mixture and stir in the strained milk
gradually to make a smooth sauce.
Return to heat and stir
until the sauce comes to boiling point.
Remove from heat.
Mix together the egg yolk
and cream and stir into the sauce.
Add the hop shoots and
Pour into the prepared
pastry case and decorate the top with a lattice of pasty
strips or shapes if desired.
Bake at 425F for 30
minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned
Can be eaten hot or cold.
(Food from the
Split Pea Soup
8 oz split peas
5 ¼ pint
small knuckle of bacon
1 medium onion
1 large potato
½ tsp celery seeds
bunch hop shoots
Soak the peas I the
water overnight, and in a separate bowl soak the knuckle of
bacon. Add the drained knuckle to the pan with the peas and
water, together with the onion, peeled and finely sliced and
the potato peeled and cubed, the lovage and the celery
Simmer, stirring from time
to time, until the peas are mushy, remove bacon knuckle and
lovage and blend or sieve the soup.
Lightly poach the chopped
hop tops, shred up the meat from the knuckle. Return the
soup to the pan, add the meat and hop shoots and reheat.
Taste and correct
seasoning before serving.
Serve with chunks of
wholemeal bread and butter.
(Food from the
½ oz fresh hops or ¼ oz dried
a small piece of bruised ginger
1 bunch of fresh apple or other
1 thinly sliced lemon
2/3 cup brown sugar
Fill a large pan
with 4 ½ pints of cold water and add the hops, ginger, mint
Bring to a boil and simmer
fast for 30 minutes.
The liquid will have
reduced by about half.
Strain and stir in the
Stir to dissolve and boil
for 5 minutes.
Pour into a jug and cool
(The Complete Book of Herbs and Spices)
4 cups of milk
10 oz semolina flour
4 Tbsp butter
10 oz hops buds
4 tbsp of tomato sauce
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of basil
salt & pepper
Blanch the hops buds, drain and chop them. Then mix in the
eggs and lightly sear the concoction in butter and nutmeg.
In a separate pan, bring the milk to a boil and add salt.
Add the semolina flour and stir continuously for about 15
minutes, add the hops and other ingredients and pour the
whole mixture in a baking dish. Cook at 350F heat for about
30 minutes. Serve cold with a light salsa made from the
tomato sauce, oil, basil, salt and pepper.
The Complete Book of Herbs &
Spices, Sarah Garland,
Viking, 1979; ISBN: 0-671-05575-5
A Compendium of Herbal Magicke,
Publishing, 1998; ISBN: 0-919345-45-X
Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their
Bown, Dorling Kindersley, 1995; ISBN: 0-7894-0184-3
Food from the Countryside,
Avril Rodway, 1988; ISBN: 185627-276-1
Illustrated Encyclopedia of
Essential Oils, Julia
Lawless, Element Books, 1997; ISBN: 1-56619-990-5
The Illustrated Herb Encyclopedia,
Kathi Keville, Mallard Press, 1991; ISBN: 0-7924-5307-7
Scott Cunningham, Llewllyn Publications, 1982, ISBN:
Potter’s New Cyclopaedia of
Botanical Drugs and Preparations,
R.C.Wren, C.W.Daniel, 1985, ISBN: 0-85207-197-3
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