While not a traditional vine, the hops plant is similar to a vine in that it is a climbing plant. The Hops plant can be found growing naturally in Europe, Asia, and various regions of North America. Hops are the cone-like, fruiting bodies of the plant and are most frequently harvested from cultivated female plants. Hops are also the main ingredient in beer and other beverages.
Other than being the main constituent in many beer products, hops also offers a variety of health benefits. It is believed that hops may be useful when used in connection with insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and related conditions. It is still used for sedation, often in combination with other sleep-promoting herbals such as valerian; however, little scientific evidence supports the use of hops as a medicinal herb.
In a few small laboratory studies, chemicals in hops have shown to have some anti-infective activity. Hops may also have anticancer properties. In several small studies of laboratory cultures or animals, hops prevented different cancer types from starting, growing, or spreading. Perhaps more significant, a chemical derived from hops has caused laboratory cultures of leukemia cells to disintegrate. Whether any of these effects may apply to humans has yet to be determined. Dosage and Administration
Hops is available as capsules, liquid extracts, tea leaves, and other dosage forms. Directions for use vary considerably. If you decide to take hops, follow the instructions on the manufacturer's label of the package that you purchase. The standard dosage of hops is 0.5 g (about 1 heaping teaspoonful) taken 1 to 3 times daily.Precautions
Patients who are allergic to hops should not use them. If you are taking sedative drugs, do not take hops except under a physician's supervision. Supporting Literature Bradley PR. British Herbal Compendium. Bournemouth: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 127-130.
Blumenthal M, Busse WR, and Goldberg A. The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, pg 147.