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19 Amazing Health Benefits Of Hops

Hops are female cone-shaped flowers of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus. The dried flowers are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, tension, nervousness, and many more. Hops are full of alpha acids which is why they are used as a primary bittering and flavouring agent while making beer [1] . If we trust the history, hops have been used since the Roman times to make beer and later, after seeing their amazing benefits, they were used in the making of medicines for sedation [2] , diarrhoea and Crohn's disease.

Hops are cultivated around the world and that's why they have different species depending on the region they are grown. They come with a sour taste and strong aroma. Hops contain bitter acids like humulone and lupulone [1] that come with a sedative property and tannins [2], asparagine, and flavonoid glycosides. Common names of hops include asperge sauvage, hop, hop strobile, and houblon.

Types Of Hops

Just like there are varieties of grapes used for making wine, there are tons of varieties of hops used for brewing. Different types of hops bring different types of flavour and aroma on the table. They vary according to the alpha acid and essential oil content in them. The category of hops according to their geography of origin are as follows [3] :

  • Noble hops: They grow in German and Czech republic and are considered more classic. They are high in essential oil humulene but low in alpha acid.
  • English hops: They are more delicate and mild and contain less myrcene.
  • American hops: They tend to be bright, bold and highly scented. They have a high amount of essential oil myrcene, giving them a citrus taste.

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Active Compounds Present In Hops

Female hops contain biologically active compounds like bitter acids, volatile oils, polyphenols and prenylflavonoids.

The flavonoids in hops are xanthohumol [4] and 8-prenylnaringenin [5] . The volatile oils in hops are myrcene [6] , farnesene and humulene. Bitter acids in hops are humulone, lupulone [3] , adlupulone and adhumulone.

Health Benefits Of Hops

1. Treat insomnia: The two essential oils humulene and lupolene found in hops have sedative property which helps in easing insomnia, anxiety, and headache [2] .

2. Manage oestrogen level in females: Hops naturally contain phytoestrogen (8-prenylnaringenin) that mimics the female hormone estrogen and ease symptoms of hypoestrogenism [5] .

3. Prevent ageing: The antioxidants in hops prevent the body from oxidative stress and help to keep the skin radiant and glowy [7] .

4. Prevent cardiovascular disease: The compound xanthohumol [4] in hops relaxes blood vessels and improves the blood circulation in the body, thus preventing cardiovascular disease [8] .

5. Prevent cancer: The compound xanthohumol in hops possesses anticancer property. A study says that the compound is cytotoxic and it kills cancer cells in the body [9] .

6. Relax muscles: The sedative property of hops helps in relaxing and soothing the muscles [8] .

7. Improve digestion: The polyphenols [10] in hops improve the stomach juice production without affecting its acid levels and reduce the inflammatory protein production easing digestion.

8. Relieve toothache: The polyphenols present in hops help relieve toothache and plaque growth. They block the inflammatory response caused by gum disease [10] .

9. Treat menstrual cramps: The compound 8-prenylnaringenin in hops is very effective in treating menstrual cramps and menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats [5] .

10. Improve sexual performance: The flavonoid 8-prenylnaringenin in hops improve sexual performance by preventing vaginal dryness in women and premature ejaculation in men [5] .

11. Treat cough and congestion: The anti-inflammatory mechanism of hops aid irritation in the respiratory tract thus, treating coughing, congestion and other lung disorders [11] .

12. Act as an analgesic: The alpha acid isohumulones found in hops act as an analgesic and help relieve the painful teeth, ears, nerves, and other chronic pains.

13. Prevent kidney diseases: A antioxidant compound xanthohumol found in hops help in preventing kidney-related problems like kidney stones and kidney cancer [4] .

14. Prevent bad body odour: Hops prevent the growth of two bacteria which are responsible for the production of bad body odour in underarms and foot [7] .

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15. Manage blood glucose: The essential oil called isohumulones present in hops reduce insulin resistance and manage blood glucose in the body [12] .

16. Help in weight loss: Xanthohumol and iso-alpha acids compound present in hops reduce the body fat by preventing excessive fat accumulation in the body.

17. Fight allergies: Hops reduce the production of cytokine in the body that causes an allergic response in the body and help fight allergies like nose swelling, sneezing and others [13] .

18. May prevent liver damage: Xanthohumol and isohumulones in hops help in preventing liver disorders like fatty liver, inflammation in the liver and tissue scarring in the liver [14] .

19. Prevent neurodegenerative disease: Xanthohumol in hops prevent the build-up of protein in the brain that causes neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

Side Effects Of Hops

Exposure to a high amount of hops causes certain side effects like the following:

  • Asthma and dry cough
  • Reduced lung function
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [15]
  • Redness in the skin
  • Fluid build-up in the eyelids
  • Premenopausal problems
  • Conjunctivitis

Hops Drug Interactions

Hops interact with certain medications and cause harm to the body. They are as follows:

  • Hops increase the antibacterial capacity of certain antibiotics like polymyxin.
  • Avoid consuming hops extract with alcohol and sedatives like zolpidem and lorazepam [16] .
  • Avoid taking hops with oestrogen drugs.
  • The effect of some liver medications like chlorzoxazone and bufuralol can be changed in presence of hops.

Hops Lemonade Recipe


  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ oz dried hops, leaves or pellets
  • 1 lemon zest, prepared by scrapping the outer cover of the lemon
  • ¼ tablespoon of Baking soda
  • 1 cup of lemon juice
  • Cold water


  • Mix water, lemon zest and sugar in a pan.
  • Boil the mixture over medium flame till the sugar dissolves.
  • Once the sugar is properly dissolved in the mixture, add baking soda and hops and stir it.
  • Switch off the flame and cover it for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, add lemon juice

Strain the mixture in a glass or pitcher.

  • Add cold water and a pinch of salt to taste. Chill and serve.
  • View Article References
    1. [1] Flythe, M. D., Kagan, I. A., Wang, Y., & Narvaez, N. (2017). Hops (Humulus lupulus L.) Bitter Acids: Modulation of Rumen Fermentation and Potential As an Alternative Growth Promoter. Frontiers in veterinary science, 4, 131. doi:10.3389/fvets.2017.00131
    2. [2] Franco, L., Sánchez, C., Bravo, R., Rodriguez, A., Barriga, C., & Juánez, J. (2012). The sedative effects of hops (Humulus lupulus), a component of beer, on the activity/rest rhythm. Acta Physiologica Hungarica, 99(2), 133-139.
    3. [3] Chadwick, L. R., Pauli, G. F., & Farnsworth, N. R. (2006). The pharmacognosy of Humulus lupulus L. (hops) with an emphasis on estrogenic properties. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, 13(1-2), 119–131. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2004.07.006
    4. [4] Wei, S., Sun, T., Du, J., Zhang, B., Xiang, D., & Li, W. (2018). Xanthohumol, a prenylated flavonoid from Hops, exerts anticancer effects against gastric cancer in vitro. Oncology reports, 40(6), 3213–3222. doi:10.3892/or.2018.6723
    5. [5] Possemiers, S., Bolca, S., Grootaert, C., Heyerick, A., Decroos, K., Dhooge, W., ... & Van de Wiele, T. (2006). The prenylflavonoid isoxanthohumol from hops (Humulus lupulus L.) is activated into the potent phytoestrogen 8-prenylnaringenin in vitro and in the human intestine. The Journal of nutrition, 136(7), 1862-1867.
    6. [6] Wang, G., Tian, L., Aziz, N., Broun, P., Dai, X., He, J., … Dixon, R. A. (2008). Terpene biosynthesis in glandular trichomes of hop. Plant physiology, 148(3), 1254–1266. doi:10.1104/pp.108.125187
    7. [7] Weber, N., Biehler, K., Schwabe, K., Haarhaus, B., Quirin, K. W., Frank, U., … Wölfle, U. (2019). Hop Extract Acts as an Antioxidant with Antimicrobial Effects against PropionibacteriumAcnes and Staphylococcus Aureus. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(2), 223. doi:10.3390/molecules24020223
    8. [8] Kondo, K. (2004). Beer and health: preventive effects of beer components on lifestyle-related diseases. Biofactors, 22(1-4), 303-310.
    9. [9] Jiang, C. H., Sun, T. L., Xiang, D. X., Wei, S. S., & Li, W. Q. (2018). Anticancer Activity and Mechanism of Xanthohumol: A Prenylated Flavonoid From Hops (Humulus lupulus L.). Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 530. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00530
    10. [10] Arranz, S., Chiva-Blanch, G., Valderas-Martínez, P., Medina-Remón, A., Lamuela-Raventós, R. M., & Estruch, R. (2012). Wine, beer, alcohol and polyphenols on cardiovascular disease and cancer. Nutrients, 4(7), 759–781. doi:10.3390/nu4070759
    11. [11] Van Cleemput, M., Heyerick, A., Libert, C., Swerts, K., Philippé, J., De Keukeleire, D., ... & De Bosscher, K. (2009). Hop bitter acids efficiently block inflammation independent of GRα, PPARα, or PPARγ. Molecular nutrition & food research, 53(9), 1143-1155.
    12. [12] Konda, V. R., Desai, A., Darland, G., Grayson, N., & Bland, J. S. (2014). KDT501, a derivative from hops, normalizes glucose metabolism and body weight in rodent models of diabetes. PloS one, 9(1), e87848. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087848
    13. [13] Takubo, M., Inoue, T., Jiang, S., Tsumuro, T., Ueda, Y., Yatsuzuka, R., ... & Kamei, C. (2006). Effects of hop extracts on nasal rubbing and sneezing in BALB/c mice. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 29(4), 689-692.
    14. [14] Dorn, C., Kraus, B., Motyl, M., Weiss, T. S., Gehrig, M., Schölmerich, J., ... & Hellerbrand, C. (2010). Xanthohumol, a chalcon derived from hops, inhibits hepatic inflammation and fibrosis. Molecular nutrition & food research, 54(S2), S205-S213.
    15. [15] Reeb-Whitaker, C. K., & Bonauto, D. K. (2014). Respiratory disease associated with occupational inhalation to hop (Humulus lupulus) during harvest and processing. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 113(5), 534-538.
    16. [16] Yurcheshen, M., Seehuus, M., & Pigeon, W. (2015). Updates on Nutraceutical Sleep Therapeutics and Investigational Research. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2015, 105256. doi:10.1155/2015/105256