Echoes of the Garden

The Leech's Knowing

Hop Into Bed

For a plant that's been around for a long time, there are remarkably few older references to it. I have searched all of my usual herbals and haven't found mention of this herb under any name for it that I am familiar with in many of them. As with yesterday's post, I believe that I haven't yet found the name it was known by to our respected Herbalists. If you have more information than I do, please pass it along in the comments section below. Thanks!

Gerard does mention it, calling it by the original Latin name of Lupus. He states that:

The juyce is of more force, and doth not onely remove obstructions out of the intrals, but it is also thought to avoid choler and flegme bv the stoole. It is written, that the same dropped into the eares, taketh away the stench and corruption thereof.

And also:

The decoction of Hops drunke openeth the stoppings of the liver, the spleene, and kidnies, and purgeth the bloud from all corrupt humors, causing the same to come forth with the urine.

Jose and Roxanne, via Flickr [CC 2.0]

Modern reference to its medicinal benefits were much easier to find. Hops are a member of the Cannabaceae family (yes, they're first cousins to Cannabis). It's not really a surprise that the main medicinal use of hops is for treating insomnia, anxiety and nervous tension. It's often paired with Valerian for these purposes. The bitter principles in it mean that it's used today as a stomachic and tonic, just as it was in Gerard's time.

By unknown master (book scan) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This site goes into a bit of detail and this one has a great list of everything that hops have been reported to do and a list of pharmaceutical drugs that hops might interfere with.

If you decide that you'd like to relax and have a nice cuppa, this site tells how to make a cup of hops tea.

By Louis Toussaint (1826-1887) (Ottocento Ltd., Petwoth, West Sussex, England) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For those who prefer to use essential oils, this site has some good information.

I've always been told that the best way to use hops to help you sleep is with a dream pillow. Here's a video with clear directions on making one. The Gentle suggests making them as gifts but my friends tend to make them for themselves and they do so throughout the year. I will confess to not liking the smell of hops so I made one only once.

I have enjoyed researching this Noble Interest even though I have found it somewhat frustrating. I'll keep looking. The really nice thing about learning is that it doesn't stop. I'll find a reference somewhere that will lead me back to here and fill in some of the gaps I couldn't fill today. If you can point me toward some information I missed, I would be grateful. Please remember to like and share. Thanks for stopping by!

Tomorrow will be a social call.

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The information and recipes contained on this site are presented for intellectual and historical interest only. If you are looking for medical advice, please consult with a licensed physician. If you choose to try any recipe for the sake of adventure or curiosity, you do so at your own risk.

About Me

About Me

My interest in plants started young. While most of my friends were playing with Barbie or dreaming of horses, I was out in the fields of our farm creating imaginary villages and caching collected seeds, roots and herbs against winter need. When I discovered the library and field guides, I realized that I had found my passion- the interaction between plants and people. While my caching habits have switched to saving more useful plants, some things don’t change. I still …
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