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Hops (Humulus lupulus)

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Also listed as: Humulus lupulus
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • 6-Prenylnaringenin (6-PN), 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN), adenylate isopentenyltransferase, bitter acids, Cannabaceae (family), catechin, chalcones, cohulupone, colupulone, common hops, Elusan®, epicatechin, European hops, geranyl(geranyl)diphosphate synthase, hop, hop strobile, Hopfen (German), houblon (French), hulupinic acid, humulon, humulus, Humulus lupulus, iso-alpha-acids, isoxanthohumol (IXN), kaempferol glycosides, kaempferol-7-O-rutinoside, Lupuli strobulus, lupulin, lupulus, myrcene, oxidized cohumulinone, oxidized hop alfa-bitter acids, oxidized humulinone derivatives, prenylated 2`-hydroxychalcones, prenylflavonoids, procyanidin dimer B, quercetin, rutin, silicon, spent hops, volatile thiols, xanthohumol (XN), Ze 91019.
  • Combination product examples: Avena Sativa Compound in Species Sedative Tea, Hova®-Filmtabletten, HR 129 Serene, HR 133 Stress, Melatonin with Vitamin B6, Meta050 (reduced iso-alpha-acids from hops, rosemary extract, and oleanolic acid), Seda-Kneipp®, Snuz Plus, Stress Aid, Valverde®, and Zemaphyte®.

Background
  • Hops are the seed cones from the Humulus lupulus plant. The plant is a climbing vine belonging to the family Cannabaceae and is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. Hops are mostly grown in the United States, Germany, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, and China.
  • Hops are widely used to preserve beer and provide the aroma and flavor. Hops varieties include Willamette, Victoria, Pride of Ringwood, Cascade, Southern Hallertau, Millennium, Southern Saaz, and Super Pride. Hops essential oils are used in perfumes, cereals, beverages, and tobacco.
  • Hops contain phytoestrogens, compounds that may have hormonal effects. It is unclear how phytoestrogens may impact hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, or endometriosis (a disorder in which uterine cells grow in other body parts).
  • Traditionally, hops preparations have been used for relaxation, anxiety, and sleep problems. Early studies have looked at the combined use of hops and valerian for the treatment of sleep difficulty.
  • There is limited human evidence supporting the use of hops as an antioxidant or deodorant. Evidence is lacking in support of hops as a treatment for menopause symptoms, asthma, joint diseases, ulcers, or metabolic syndrome.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Limited evidence suggests that hops extract may decrease oxidative stress and markers of heart disease risk and inflammation. Further research is needed in this area before a conclusion can be made.

C


Limited evidence suggests that hops extract may improve quality of life in adults with asthma but may not affect lung function. Further research is needed in this area before a conclusion can be made.

C


Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition in which the leg veins cannot pump enough blood back to the heart. People who have this condition may develop sores on the lower limbs. Limited evidence suggests that Idrastin®, a combination product containing hops, may help treat these sores when used with conventional therapy. Further research is needed on the possible benefit of hops alone.

C


Limited evidence suggests that a combination treatment containing hops extract may help reduce odor and fight bacteria when applied to the underarms. Further research is needed on the use of hops alone.

C


Limited evidence suggests that hops extract may decrease oxidative stress and markers of heart disease risk and inflammation. Further research is needed in this area before a conclusion can be made.

C


Common menopause symptoms may include vaginal dryness, burning, itching, pain during sex, low sex drive, and reduced quality of life. When used in combination with other products, hops may help improve symptoms such as hot flashes and difficulty sleeping. However, more research is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.

C


Some evidence suggests that a combination treatment including hops may help treat metabolic syndrome. Further research is needed to determine the effects of hops alone.

C


Early research suggests that a combination treatment containing hops may help reduce symptoms of diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. However, further research is needed on the use of hops alone.

C


Hops have been used as a sedative to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Early research suggests that combination treatments containing hops may reduce alertness and improve sleep quality. However, there is limited evidence on the use of hops alone. More information is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


Early studies report that hops may have sleep-enhancing benefits. However, there is limited information on these effects in humans. Further research is needed in this area before a conclusion can be made.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Antimicrobial, antispasmodic (prevents muscle spasms), antiviral, anxiety, appetite stimulant, atopic dermatitis (scaly, itchy rashes), breast enlargement, cancer, clogged arteries, colds/flu, Crohn's disease, diabetes, digestion, dysentery (bloody diarrhea), earaches, estrogen-like activity, gynecologic disorders, high cholesterol, improving urine flow, indigestion, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney disorders, leprosy (bacterial infection causing skin sores), lung disease (from inhalation of silica dust or asbestos), mood disorders, nervous disorders, osteoporosis, pain relief, parasites, restlessness, scoliosis (abnormal spine curving), seizures, sex, skin ulcers, toothache, tuberculosis, weight loss, wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • As an antioxidant, 400 milligrams of commercial hops (Elusan®) has been taken by mouth daily for 30 days.
  • For heart disease risk reduction, 400 milligrams of commercial hops (Elusan®) has been taken by mouth daily for 30 days.
  • For sleep disorders, doses of 0.5-1 grams of dried hops extract or 0.5-1 milliliters of liquid hops extract has been taken by mouth three times daily.
  • For menopause symptoms, 100 or 250 micrograms of a hops extract has been taken by mouth for 8-12 weeks.
  • For rheumatism or joint diseases, 1,000 milligrams (500 milligrams twice daily) of rho-iso-alpha-acids (RIAA), a modified hops extract, has been taken by mouth for six weeks.
  • Injecting hops is likely unsafe.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for hops in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to hops, its parts, other members of the Cannabaceae family, peanuts, chestnuts, or bananas.
  • There have been reports of allergic skin reactions, asthma, hay fever, and lung sensitivity to allergens with hops exposure.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Hops are likely safe in recommended doses, when used with valerian to improve sleep, and when applied to the skin or vagina for up to 12 weeks to treat vaginal dryness.
  • Up to 400 milligrams of commercial hops (Elusan®) is possibly safe when taken by mouth daily for 30 days.
  • Hops may cause bronchitis, central nervous system (CNS) depression, changes in body temperature, changes in the immune system, dizziness, dry cough, hormonal effects, panting, restlessness, seizures, shortness of breath, stomach pain, and vomiting.
  • Drowsiness, sedation, reduced alertness, or slowing of the thought process may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery. Use cautiously in people who are taking depressants, sedatives, or antipsychotics.
  • Hops may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or low blood sugar and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood sugar levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Hops may increase the risk of postmenopausal bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Hops may interfere with the way the body processes certain agents using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these agents may be altered in the blood and may cause altered effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. People using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
  • Use cautiously in children and in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Use cautiously in people who have autoimmune disorders, hormone-sensitive conditions (e.g., breast cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, or endometriosis), and stomach disorders.
  • Use cautiously in people who are taking agents that affect the immune system and hormonal agents (including birth control or fertility agents).
  • Use cautiously in people who are taking disulfiram (Antabuse®) or metronidazole (Flagyl®). A disulfiram reaction may occur due to the high alcohol content of some hops preparations.
  • Avoid using hops preparations with high alcohol levels during pregnancy.
  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to hops, its parts, other members of the Cannabaceae family, peanuts, chestnuts, or bananas.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to hops dust. Dust from hops may contain harmful bacteria.
  • Avoid injecting hops.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of hops during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Use cautiously in pregnant or breastfeeding women, as hops may have hormonal and sedative effects. Avoid using hops preparations with high alcohol content in pregnant women.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Hops may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also affect blood sugar. People taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Hops may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be altered in the blood and may cause increased or decreased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Patients using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
  • Hops may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
  • Hops may also interact with acetaminophen, agents that affect the immune system, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungals, anti-inflammatory agents (such as celecoxib), antipsychotic agents, antiulcer agents, antivirals, birth control, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, cholesterol-lowering agents, disulfiram (Antabuse®), fertility agents, hormonal agents (such as tamoxifen or raloxifene), interferons, metronidazole (Flagyl®), pain relievers (such as Idrastin®), sexual stimulants, steroids, stomach agents, and thyroid agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Hops may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
  • Hops may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high or too low in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.
  • Hops may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements, including antidepressants.
  • Hops may also interact with antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungals, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antioxidants, antipsychotic herbs and supplements, antiulcer herbs and supplements, antivirals, birth control, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, fertility herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, herbs and supplements that promote sexual desire, herbs and supplements that treat stomach disorders, hormonal herbs and supplements, pain-relieving herbs and supplements, phytoestrogens, steroids, thyroid agents, and valerian.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Choi Y, Jermihov K, Nam SJ, et al. Screening natural products for inhibitors of quinone reductase-2 using ultrafiltration LC-MS. Anal.Chem 2-1-2011;83(3):1048-1052.
  2. Dietz BM and Bolton JL. Biological reactive intermediates (BRIs) formed from botanical dietary supplements. Chem Biol Interact. 6-30-2011;192(1-2):72-80.
  3. Foster BC, Arnason JT, Saleem A, et al. Comparative study of hops-containing products on human cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism. J Agric Food Chem 5-11-2011;59(9):5159-5163.
  4. Franco L, Sanchez C, Bravo R, et al. The sedative effect of non-alcoholic beer in healthy female nurses. PLoS.One. 2012;7(7):e37290.
  5. Gross-Steinmeyer K and Eaton DL. Dietary modulation of the biotransformation and genotoxicity of aflatoxin B(1). Toxicology 9-28-2012;299(2-3):69-79.
  6. Jones JL, Fernandez ML, McIntosh MS, et al. A Mediterranean-style low-glycemic-load diet improves variables of metabolic syndrome in women, and addition of a phytochemical-rich medical food enhances benefits on lipoprotein metabolism. J Clin Lipidol. 2011;5(3):188-196.
  7. Kligler B, Homel P, Blank AE, et al. Randomized trial of the effect of an integrative medicine approach to the management of asthma in adults on disease-related quality of life and pulmonary function. Altern Ther Health Med 2011;17(1):10-15.
  8. Lamb JJ, Holick MF, Lerman RH, et al. Nutritional supplementation of hop rho iso-alpha acids, berberine, vitamin D(3), and vitamin K(1) produces a favorable bone biomarker profile supporting healthy bone metabolism in postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome. Nutr.Res. 2011;31(5):347-355.
  9. Lee IS, Lim J, Gal J, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of xanthohumol involves heme oxygenase-1 induction via NRF2-ARE signaling in microglial BV2 cells. Neurochem.Int 2011;58(2):153-160.
  10. Moreira MM, Carvalho AM, Valente IM, et al. Novel application of square-wave adsorptive-stripping voltammetry for the determination of xanthohumol in spent hops. J Agric Food Chem 7-27-2011;59(14):7654-7658.
  11. Olas B, Kolodziejczyk J, Wachowicz B, et al. The extract from hop cones (Humulus lupulus) as a modulator of oxidative stress in blood platelets. Platelets. 2011;22(5):345-352.
  12. Shou C, Li J, and Liu Z. Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Chin J.Integr.Med. 2011;17(12):883-888.
  13. Tillman GE, Haas GJ, Wise MG, et al. Chicken intestine microbiota following the administration of lupulone, a hop-based antimicrobial. FEMS Microbiol.Ecol. 2011;77(2):395-403.
  14. Wang YJ, Dou J, Cross KP, et al. Computational analysis for hepatic safety signals of constituents present in botanical extracts widely used by women in the United States for treatment of menopausal symptoms. Regul.Toxicol.Pharmacol 2011;59(1):111-124.
  15. Wyns C, Derycke L, Soenen B, et al. Production of monoclonal antibodies against hop-derived (Humulus lupulus L.) prenylflavonoids and the development of immunoassays. Talanta 7-15-2011;85(1):197-205.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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