Grow and Use Hops: Herb of 2018

By Kathleen Gips, Western Reserve Unit, HSA

Hops copyHops is a perennial vine reaching a height of over 15 feet. The flowers are chartreuse green blooming in July, and the leaves are bright green and heart shaped, similar to grape leaves. A “hop” is a green cone around the female flower of the hop plant. Inside the hops are golden grains that form a sticky orange powder. This pollen gives beer its bitter flavor.

How to grow hops: This vine is easy to grow, hardy, a fast grower and useful in the landscape. Hops prefer rich soil and can grow in sun or partial shade.  It grows very quickly in the warm months and can cover a trellis in a season. Vines are cut to the ground with the first frost.

History of Hops: Hops have been used for centuries to flavor beer. The cultivation of hops and beer has been synonymous.  Hops has a long history of use for sleeplessness, nervousness and restlessness.

Uses of Hops: Hops has been used traditionally as a sleep aid. There is evidence that hops acts as a muscle relaxant as well as a strong antiseptic agent.

IMG_1268

Bed Time Herbal Tea

These herbs — lemon balm, chamomile, catnip, lavender and hops — have been known throughout history to support sleep and to relax the central nervous system, soothe tension and relieve tight muscles.  Hibiscus and lemon peel add flavor and vitamin C.

  • 1/2 cup lemon balm
  • 1/2 cup chamomile (omit if you are allergic to ragweed)
  • 2 Tablespoon catnip
  • 1 Tablespoon hibiscus
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon organic lavender
  • 1 teaspoon hops

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight jar away from heat and light. Use one teaspoon to a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 5 to 15 minutes. Strain out herbs, add honey and sip before bedtime.

IMG_1285Sleepy Time Rub

Use to rub on chest, under nose or on the soles of your feet to encourage a restful sleep.

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried hops flowers
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil

Heat coconut oil over low heat until melted. Stir in hops flowers. Steep for 15 minutes. Strain liquid coconut oil though sieve to remove hops. Mix in lavender essential oil. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight glass container.

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