Natural Sleep Aids - Hops for Sleep and Anxiety

Hops are one of the best natural sleep aids. They can promote a restful sleep and relieve restlessness, tension, irritability, stress, and anxiety.

Common hops (Humulus lupulus) is a perennial vine native to Europe, North America, and Asia. The most common use of the seed cones or strobiles of this plant is to impart a pleasantly bitter flavor to beer. Hops is also one of the most popular herbal remedies for anxiety. It is also useful for treating insomnia.

Hundreds of years back the harvesters of hops noticed that they would feel sleepy after plucking hops cones. In popular folk-remedy, a pillow filled with hops was recommended to help those people who were restless and had difficulty falling asleep!

A number of scientific studies have been carried out to investigate the effectiveness of hops for sleep and anxiety. The studies lend support to the belief that it can promote sleep, and relieve anxiety, stress, and restlessness. A study indicated that hops reduces spontaneous locomotor activity, reduces body temperature, and has a sedating effect. Another study indicated that a valerian-hops combination might be a useful adjunct in the treatment of mild insomnia. It also suggested that sleep improvements with a valerian-hops combination are associated with an improved quality of life.

The extract of hops also has antibiotic and preservative effects. It is used in herbal medicine to treat sleeplessness, restlessness, and anxiety. It is one of the best herbal and natural aids for sleep.

Natural sleep aids containing hops extract are commercially available as dietary supplements.

Common Hops
Hops (Humulus lupulus)

Botanical Name

Humulus lupulus.

Common Names

Hops, Common Hops.

Uses of Hops

Hops is used as a herbal remedy for anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, irritability, and tension. It also has diuretic, nervine, appetite stimulating, anti-flatulant, antispasmodic, analgesic and antipyretic properties. Sometimes it is used in combination with valerian and other herbs to treat sleep disturbances. It is also used in some deodorants because of its antibiotic effect. Lupulin is a glandular powder separated from hops-strobiles by beating or rubbing them, followed by sifting them. This powder is a natural sleep aid.

Supplements - Natural Sleep Aids Containing Hops

Common hops are readily available in the form of hops extract or hops supplements. They promote relaxation and induce a restful sleep. They can also help anxiety and stress related problems.

Active Substances - What Does Hops Extract Contain?

Hops extract contains natural phytochemicals such as 2-methyl-3-butene-2-ol, dimethylvinyl carbinol (2-Methyl-2-butanol or 2-Methylbutan-2-ol), humulone (a-lupulic acid), lupulone (ß-lupulic acid), etc.

Mechanism of action - How Does Hops Extract Work?

2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol present in hops extract has relaxing and sleep inducing effects both when swallowed or inhaled.

Side Effects of Hops for Sleep or Anxiety

Hops for sleep and anxiety is generally recognized as a safe remedy. Mild drowsiness might occur. Hops are not safe for dogs. Some farmers get an allergic skin rash while harvesting hops. In rare cases hops might cause irregular menstrual cycles in women or decreased libido in men.

Interactions - Things to Avoid While Taking Hops for Sleep or Anxiety

Avoid taking hops extract along with CNS depressants, sedatives, barbiturates, narcotics, benzodiazepines, codeine, alcohol, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy pills, ginseng, antibiotics, antidepressants, antifungals, anti-inflammatory pills, gastrointestinal drugs, anti-psychotic drugs such as phenothiazine, cholesterol-lowering drugs such as lovastatin, certain supplements for anxiety such as kava kava.

If you are taking a hops preparation that contains alcohol in it, avoid metronidazole (Flagyl) or disulfiram (Antabuse).

Contraindications - Who Should Not Take Hops for Sleep or Anxiety?

Pregnant or breast-feeding women should not use hops for sleep or anxiety. It is not recommended for people suffering from depression, cancer, diabetes, or psychotic disorders.

Special Precautions

Do not use hops for sleep or anxiety during pregnancy or breast-feeding. If you feel drowsy avoid driving or operating machines that require you to be alert. Keep hops away from dogs. If you are allergic to bananas, chestnuts, or peanuts, chances are that you might be allergic to hops too. Allergy to hops is rare but if you are allergic to hops stop using it and consult your doctor. Symptoms of allergy are rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, cough, bronchitis, shortness of breath, wheezing or other respiratory difficulties.

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