Type of plant: Perennial climbing plant with male and female cone-shaped strobiles, made up of imbricated scales
Part used: Female strobiles
Method of extraction: Steam distillation; solvent extraction
Data: The best known use for hops is as an ingredient in beer. It has phytoestrogenic properties, which account for its traditional use as an aid to encourage breast milk and, some say, is the cause of the “beer belly” effect. Hops have been known as a sedative for hundreds of years, and hop pillows to aid sleep are still sold the world over.
Principal places of production: England, Hungary, Croatia, Germany, France
When buying look for: A pale-yellow to dark-yellow liquid with a green, herbaceous aroma
Therapeutic properties: Antimicrobial, astringent, calmative, carminative, emollient, estrogenic, nervine, soporific, spasmolytic
Therapeutic uses: Neuralgia, bruising, analgesic, menstrual problems, menopausal symptoms, insomnia, coughs, stress-related asthma, stress-related digestive conditions, nervousness, stress, tension
Blends well with: Amyris, cananga, carnation, cedarwood, chamomile maroc, chamomile roman, clary sage, geranium, lemon, mandarin, marjoram (sweet), nutmeg, orange (sweet), spikenard, spruce, valerian, vetiver
Precautionary advice: Best avoided during pregnancy and while breast-feeding. GRAS status.