Hops, Health and Beer

Eating chicken soup to cure a cold; waiting a half hour to swim after you eat; wearing clean underwear—all examples of conventional wisdom you learned from your mom. The polite course of action has always been to remind yourself that chicken soup sure can’t hurt, even if you think mom’s being a pest! But, what if it turns out mom was right?

For hundreds of years, hops have been attributed with promoting sleep in colloquial lore. Pat Leuchtman, garnder and author of the blog Commonweeder explains in a post on hops that, “To this day people can buy pretty little hop pillows to lure a reluctant sandman.” 

Recent news appears to verify this; hop supplier Hopsteiner reports in their July newsletter that hops are now recommended in the European Herbal Medicinal Product Committee (EHMPC) Monographs as a traditional herbal medicinal product for relief of mild symptoms of mental stress and to aid sleep.

The report also mentions a range of other possible health benefits from hops related to xanthohumol, a naturally occurring polyphenol molecule found in hops. In 2008, the EHMPC published a list of references that illustrates the wide range of research being conducted on hops and health.

Maybe now we can all rest a little easier when it comes to our favorite beverage. Sweet dreams!