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Hops (Humulus lupulus)

Hops (Humulus lupulus)Hops (Humulus lupulus)

The hemp plant is one of the few climbing plants whose tendrils wind clockwise (seen from above). North of the Alps, hops was cultivated in monasteries as a potent seasoning and preservative from the 8th century at the latest. Its breakthrough came with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, which ensured that beer could only be preserved with hops. Other beer ingredients, such as the psychoactive henbane, have since become a thing of the past.

Origin and cultivation.

Wherever there is a temperate climate in Eurasia and North America, the wild form of the hop can be found in riparian forests and forest edges. Hops are dioecious, i.e. there are male and female plants. The latter form scaly fruit clusters ("hop cones"), which ripen at the end of August and beginning of September. The perennial plant is cultivated in hop gardens; one of the world's largest hop-growing areas is the Bavarian Hallertau, also known as Holledau. There, under optimal conditions, the hops grow up to eight meters in height on wires - up to 30 cm a day.


Hildegard von Bingen wrote about hops: "Its bitterness prevents putrefaction." In fact, its resinous, sticky fruit scales are particularly rich in bitter substances with an antibiotic effect; the bitter acids humulone and lupulone make up the largest proportion. Bitter and tannic substances are also responsible for the appetite-stimulating and digestive properties of hops. Other constituents of hop cones are effective plant pigments (flavonoids). Some newer hop varieties contain fewer bitter substances and more essential oils ("aroma hops").

Use of the hops.

  • Of course, the best known is its use in the production of beer. Hops make it durable and are responsible for the typical bitter taste
  • In natural cosmetics, hops are used as an additive in hair conditioners and shampoos, they give hair volume and shine. The phytohormones contained in hops act similarly to estrogen and can make hair grow stronger
  • Hop pillows are an ideal aid to falling asleep, because the substances responsible for the calming effect of hops are highly volatile and can be absorbed through the respiratory tract. The special feature: Hops relax without disturbing the sequence of sleep phases. According to recent studies, hopsnextract help autistic individuals to relax and increase their cognition.
This is what you should pay attention to when using hops.

It's not just the high calorie content of beer that makes for rounder curves in regular beer drinkers - the phytohormone content of hops probably also plays its part.

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