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Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



HOPS
(Humulus lupulus)
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CAUTION NOTE: TOXIC consequences as especially noted in hops pickers are fever, sleeplessness, excitability, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, feeling of heaviness, no appetite. NEVER use in cases where depression is indicated as hops would further depress the highest nervous functions. Also - the plants can cause contact dermatitis in susceptible persons.

PROPAGATION: By seed, cuttings, and root cuttings. Perennial.
NEEDS: Full sun. Deep, well-drained rich soil. A climber which dies back to the ground in fall. Invasive.
FLOWERS: July onward.
HARVEST: Gather strobiles (female flowers) in late summer before the first frost; cut in half; cones are ready when they feel springy and produce a sweet-pungent aroma when the halves are rubbed together. Lupulin glands at the base of each scale (bracts) will be dark gold-yellow. For medicinal use, best preserved by tincture as they lose their effectiveness quickly. (NOTE: Strobiles look like small pine cones.)

9 Feb 2006
The following is from an email I received from a brewer who knows his hops and appears here with his permission. Thank you, Mr. De Piro.

"Hops that have turned at all brown are well past their prime. They should be harvested in late August/early September while still green and moist. When rubbed between the palms they should be sticky and pungent, the exact fragrance dependent upon variety, but many smell citrusy or pine-like. They should not smell in the least bit cheesy.
The best way for the home grower to preserve hops is to dry them immediately upon harvest and store in mylar bags under an inert atmosphere in a freezer. Oxygen and heat are very damaging to them. The dry hops will still be green, and will still smell much like freshly-picked hops.
I have always been appalled at the poor condition of hops found in health food stores; they are invariably stored in the open air at room temperature, and are brown, brittle and cheesy. They are often ridiculously expensive, too. People should know that fresh hops can be obtained at homebrew shops for about $8 per pound. Breweries pay far less.

George de Piro
Brewmaster, C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station
19 Quackenbush Square
Albany, NY, USA 12207
(518)447-9000
www.EvansAle.com

Brewers of Kick-Ass Brown: Twice declared the Best American Brown Ale in the USA at the Great American Beer Festival (2000 & 2002)!"

USES

MEDICINAL:
Relaxant nerve remedy used as a sleep inducer, sedative, to relax smooth muscle function, to relax central nervous activity.
Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory and has been used for infections of the upper digestive tract.
Locally antiseptic when used as a poultice.
Has been used for nervous dyspesia, nervous colitis, palpitations, nervous and irritable coughs, nervous digestive problems, classic hysteria, amenorrhea with nervous association, in males for premature ejaculation and sexual neuroses.
Has also been used for asthma and to treat tuberculosis and chronic bronchitis.
Has been used to relieve headaches and toothaches (flowers heated and applied to face as poultice.)
Has been used to lower fevers and promote urination (strongly diuretic)
Has also been used to expel worms, stimulate milk flow, for leprosy, dysentary, skin ulcers, and frostbite.
Possesses estrogenic and antiandrogenic activity (super action of female estrogens but depress male hormones). A male anaphrodisiac.

CULINARY:
Strobiles are used to preserve and flavor beer. The common hop is the commercial form used for beer manufacture.
Used to flavor mineral waters and tobacco products.
In spring the tender young shoots are edible and tasty as are the male flowers later in the season.
Can be steamed and eaten as a vegetable or plain in salads (snap off the top 6 inches of shoot and prepare as for asparagus or boiled in salted, acidic water and served with cream sauce or poached eggs)
A decoction of the flowers helps bread rise.

COSMETIC:
The oil is used in perfumery.

CRAFTS:
In Scandinavia a coarse cloth is made from vines soaked all winter.
The dry flower heads added to wreaths and dried arrangements.
Vines used to weave baskets.
Stems used in basketry and wickerwork.
A coarse yarn and paper made from stalks.

DYE:
Leaves and flowers produce a brown-red.

HORTICULTURE:
The vines curiously twine clockwise. The strobiles are covered with yellow glands which contain the powdery aromatic bitters called lupulin. There are two types of hops - bittering and aromatic. The male plants are not needed for pollination and are best removed as the unpollinated female flowers produce the most desirable fruit.
There is a 'Wild Hops' of the Bryonia species which is poisonous.
Japanese Hops (Humulus japonicus) is an ornamental.

LANGUAGE:
Injustice.

COMMENT:
Contains calcium, phosphates of magnesium potassium (relaxing body tensions), humulone and lupulone (tones physical nervous system. Both primary chemicals are present in lupulin and stimulate the production of liver enzymes that metabolize toxins.
The female flowers (strobiles) are often sewn into a small fabric squares or other shapes to be used as a sleep pillow. Use either dried hops alone or combined with other herbs such as lemon verbena, lavender, or mint.



RECIPES

TINCTURE
Combine 1 oz. dry hops and 8 oz. 100 proof vodka. Cover and let stand 2 weeks, shaking daily. Bottle and store.

HOPS LEMONADE
1/2 oz. fresh or 1/4 oz. dry hops
Small piece of bruised ginger
1 bunch fresh applemint or other mint
1 thinly sliced lemon
2/3 C. brown sugar

In a large pan place 4-1/2 C. cold water and add hops, ginger, mint and lemon.
Bring to boil and simmer fast for 30 minutes; liquid should be reduced by half.
Strain and stir in sugar; stir to dissolve and boil 5 minutes.
Pour into jug and cool.




©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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