Humulus Lupulus (Common Hop)
Humulus Lupulus (Common Hop) is widely used in the beer industry, but a few people are aware of its medicinal goodness. They are used as a remedy for bacterial and fungal infections, stress and depression and sleeping disorders. Besides this, Humulus Lupulus is beneficial for individuals with diabetes, high cholesterol levels and for those who want to lose weight. The presence of health-promoting chemicals and bitter acids in Humulus Lupulus makes it a valuable medicinal plant.
Humulus Lupulus Benefits & Medicinal Uses
Anti-stress and Anxiolytic Property
Scientific studies have revealed that high doses of Humulus Lupulus enhance anti-anxiety and anti-stress effects. Such an effect is possible due to the presence of flavonoids in it. Flavonoids and flavones possess anxiolytic property. These compounds modulate and enhance GABA, a brain chemical that improves mood and relieves stress.
Furthermore, α-bitter acids and β-bitter acids are active components present in Humulus Lupulus responsible for its antidepressant and anxiolytic effect.
Another study reported that 4 weeks of treatment with Humulus Lupulus improved the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Hence, Humulus Lupulus is capable of putting one in a relaxed state and it helps to overcome stress, anxiety, and depression. (1, 2)
Humulus Lupulus has been traditionally used as a sleeping aid. It is a sedative plant that fights insomnia and induces sleep.
Humulus Lupulus increases the activity of GABA which in turn helps a person to relax.
This sedative plant affects serotonin, a hormone involved in sleep regulation. Serotonin further activates melatonin, a natural sleep hormone which helps in controlling sleep-wake cycle (when you wake up and when you fall asleep). Thus, Humulus Lupulus favors the induction of sleep. (3, 4)
Management of Menopause
Humulus Lupulus is effective in reducing symptoms of menopause. It was observed that treatment with Humulus Lupulus reduced severity and frequency of hot flushes, sweating, palpitation, and insomnia.
This is possible because of its estrogenic activity. For such action, Humulus Lupulus is accredited to the presence of prenylflavonoids, active compounds that help in attenuating menopause-related symptoms. (5, 6)
Isohumulones are plant chemicals present in Humulus Lupulus that promote good health. Scientific research has observed various benefits of isohumulones in the management of diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance.
A study demonstrated that 8 weeks of treatment with isohumulones lowered fasting blood glucose levels and HbA1c which was otherwise high in diabetics.
Iso-alpha acid, an active natural compound present in Humulus Lupulus influences uptake of glucose by the cells for energy. This lowered the presence of glucose in the bloodstream.
These compounds are further associated with normalized insulin sensitivity and improved glucose tolerance. Thus, Humulus Lupulus is effective in maintaining blood glucose level within normal range. (7, 8)
Lowers High Cholesterol Levels
High level of cholesterol increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke. Evidence-based studies have revealed that treatment with Humulus Lupulus reduces the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol.
An increase in HDL (good) cholesterol was observed which in turn is correlated with reduced risk of heart diseases.
Xanthohumol, a natural compound present in Humulus Lupulus inhibits CETP, a protein that increases the risk of heart diseases in individuals with high cholesterol levels. Such an inhibition is further associated with reduced cholesterol accumulation in the arteries, improved lipid levels, and a healthy heart.
Another study found that isohumulone, an active ingredient of Humulus Lupulus reduces triglyceride levels and liver fat stores. Thus, it can be concluded that treatment with Humulus Lupulus is an effective, natural and a safe way to lower blood lipid levels. (9, 10)
Enhances Weight Loss
Humulus Lupulus is an amazing anti-obesity agent. It inhibits weight gain and it might be a useful agent for preventing obesity.
Isohumulones increase resting energy expenditure, reduce accumulation of fat and promote the breakdown of fat. Thus, fat is not stored in the body and is used as a source of energy.
Studies have found that active compounds present in Humulus Lupulus reduce weight gain and fat mass. They decrease inflammation and action of inflammatory compounds which get activated during obesity. Hence, Humulus Lupulus is beneficial for individuals who want to shed the extra kilos. (11)
Extract of Humulus Lupulus has a strong anti-bacterial potential. It fights against various gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and thus, it can be used for the treatment of various infections.
The antibacterial effect of Humulus Lupulus was reported against E. coli and Bacillus subtilis. These bacteria are responsible for diarrhea and food poisoning. Thus, Humulus Lupulus protects against these infections.
Another study found that Humulus Lupulus possesses fungicidal activity. Such an action is attributed to the presence of phenolic compounds and bitter acids in it. Humulus Lupulus extract can also be used as a natural preservative in various food formulations due to its active antimicrobial properties. (12, 13)
Rich in Antioxidants
Humulus Lupulus contains numerous health-promoting chemical compounds that are potent antioxidants in nature. They destabilize the action of harmful free radicals and protect against the dangerous effects of oxidative stress on the body. Hence, a Humulus Lupulus can protect the body against various oxidative stress-induced diseases and disorders. (14)