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Hops Growing Guide

Hops Growing Guide

SHORTCUTS: Ideal Environment, How to Plant, How to Water, Companion Planting, How to Propagate, How to Harvest, Parts Used, Preparations, Uses, Key Constituents, Key Actions, Research.

Information

Humulus Lupulus
FAMILY CANNABACEAE
Hops is a flowering, perennial vine (as opposed to a vine) that uses its own shoots to act as support for new growth. They are said to be native to Europe, west Asia and North America. Hops is the main ingredient (flavoring and stabilizing) in many beers and has many medicinal uses as a relaxant, sedative etc.

Growing Environment

Ideal Environment 

Hops prefer rich well draining soil with lots of manure or organic matter and will thrive in full sun.  Plant them next to a fence or use trellis, stakes, poles or wires.  Each plant should have about 1 metre space and can grow up to 7 meters high, depending on the variety.

How to Plant

How to Plant 

Depending on the source of your seeds they may need stratification (6 weeks in the refrigerator).  Plant the seeds in small containers, cover lightly with soil and keep them in a warm moist spot.  Germination is in about 4 weeks but can take longer.

Watering

How to Water

Hops enjoy plenty of water so water regularly, do not let the soil dry out.  You can use mulch of organic matter to keep the moisture in and you can add organic fertiliser seasonally.

Companion Plants

Companion Planting 

Hops will outgrow most things around it and they are heavy feeders (water and nutrients) so do not plant anything too close to them.  You can also grown hops in containers.

Here are the Companion Plants by group: Herbs, Flowers, Trees, Vegetables, Berries, Fruit and Mushrooms

How to Propagate

How to Propagate 

You can propagate hops from the rhizomes or softwood cuttings. Usually 2 – 3 year old plants are divided.

Harvest

How to Harvest

The flowers will be ready when they begin to feel dry, sticky and papery with a visible yellow substance. The stems and leaves can be irritating to the skin so wear gloves. It is easiest to cut down the bine for harvesting, the plants will regrow next season. Dry the flowers and store in airtight containers in the freezer.

Medicinal Plants Parts Used

Parts Used

The dried flowers are used.

Medicinal Preparations

Preparations

You can make an infusion (1 teaspoon per cup of water), a powder and a tincture (dosage is around 2 to 4ml a day with max 40ml a week) (3).  You can also make creams and lotions.

Plant Uses

Uses

Hops are generally used for sleeplessness, reduce anxiety and nervous tension, including headache and indigestion.  Hops is also said to reduce sexual excitement in men and can be used for premature ejaculation (3).

In addition hops is also known to be used for ADHD, stomach infections, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, period pain, nerve pain, inflammation, muscle tension, fluid retention, some cancers, kidney and bladder infections and more.   Lotions and creams can be used for boils, bruises, cuts, dandruff, hair loss, wounds etc.

Constituents

Key Constituents

Oleo-resins containing bitter substances (acylphloroglucides, humulone, lupulone, valerianic acid), volatile oil (humulene), tannins, estrogenic substance, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin, rutin), chalcones, aspargin.

Key Actions

Key Actions

Nervine, strong sedative, hypnotic, tonic, diuretic, analgesic, aromatic bitter, anti-bacterial (topically), astringent, anti-pyretic, antispasmodic, anaphrodisiac (3).

Research

Research

There are quite a few studies that have confirmed the use of hops for insomnia / sleeplessness, some studies also combine hops with other herbs such as Valerian.   A 2012 study found that hop extract has better sedation, pre-anesthetic and anti-anxiety effects than diazepam (a prescription medication) (26).


USEFUL LINKS: About the Growing Guides, The Medicine Garden, Companion Plants, Basic Preparations and Plant Constituents. Disclaimer. References.

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