This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


 When you mention Hops most people think Beer. The uses for Hops, Humulus Lupulus, go far beyond flavoring a fermented beverage. Hops has been revered as an Edible and Medicinal plant for century's.
 The young leaves of the Hop plant are Edible. The older leaves are also but they get tough and course as they get older and also start to get bitter. I always taste some new leaves in the Spring just to see how they taste but I have never made a meal of them.
Young Hops Leaves
Older Vine with Mature Leaves

 Hops really shines as a Medicinal Plant. It is a great Nervine for things like anxiety, sleeplessness, nervous tension and has a general calming effect on the system. You may have heard of Hops Pillows used to help people fall asleep faster and have a good nights sleep. This calming also works as an anti-spasmodic and is good for calming cough's. It is also a strong bitter and works as a Carminitive for upset stomach, gas and bloating. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Recently, using Hops for its anti-microbial properties have been showing up in Natural product like deodorants. 
 The parts used are the Strobiles, the cone like structures, or Catkin like structures of the female plant. 


  I learned a lot about picking the Strobiles this year. You have to wait till they feel "papery" and make a dry sound when you squeeze them. Also, if they are not ready they will stay squished when you squeeze them but if they are ready they will bounce back after squeezing.
 Also, cut the Strobile open and make sure there are lots of yellow sacks, these are what hold the medicinal oils.

Yellow Sacks inside the Strobile
 I have read that women who pick hops for a living can have side effects due to the Estrogenic effect of some of the chemical compounds in Hops. Some even stop Menstruating during harvest season. If you feel Phytoestrogens can be a problem to you, please do further research before using the Herb.