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It's a soporific, but it's also depressive.

Soporific meaning, it'll make you sleep.
Depressive meaning, it'll make you depressed.

That's perhaps why guys cry into their beer, of an evening: there's always hops (Humulus lupulus) in beer. And the alcohol is depressing, as well.

Photo: Humulus lupulus 12. Pic: Hops cones in fall. Only the female hops vines make cones; as is usual, whenever plants have both male and female individuals. The cones are of course no cones at all, botanically, but they're pretty nonetheless.

If you absolutely want to use hops (knowing that it's depressive), and you don't have a female plant (or you don't have cones yet), you can also use the leaf.

Dried hops keeps its strength for about half a year, so after six months it's "throw out the rest of the hops cones" time. As you wash your empty ex-hops glass jars you swear over the green dots in the bottom of the jars, wondering what they are: insect droppings, perhaps? Hopefully not. These dots stick, though, and they're therefore difficult to clean out. After you've successfully cleaned your jars you might be less than happy in learning that you've just thrown away the best part of hops with the washing water ... the lupulin resin dots. Which fall off dried hops cones at the blink of an eye, or at the shake of a jar.

Hops (especially the resin) is intensely bitter, and it can be used as a simple bitter to stimulate digestion: eat a bit of a cone 20-30 minutes before each meal and watch your fat digestion troubles disappear. Yech for the taste, though. And it's still depressive: don't use it unless everything in your life is currently hunky-dory.

A UK herbalist didn't believe the stories of hops being depressive, and gave it as a sleeping aid to one or two clients with depression. Their depression got worse. The UK herbalist then told other herbalists about it actually being true that hops is depressive.

Dunno if it'd be depressive in sleeping pillows, though: that's where you just put dried herb into a small bag which you keep under your pillow.


Found my first wild hops today (Nottinghamshire, England) and there's some mugwort down the lane: If a sleep pillow is made with hops and mugwort, will I sleep heavily / have powerful dreams / have depressing dreams?

Very good question! I say you try it and tell us.

Funny... I just made a tincture of fresh hops cones last weekend. Prior to actually being next to em I had no desire at all to do anything with hops; I don't really like em. But (fresh herb tincture fanatic that I am) they were ~perfect~. So I put up a quart.

Don't expect I'll use 'em much; certainly wouldn't want people using it nightly, but can't hurt to have on hand. Who knows when I might be feeling to happy.

I've had hops in my garden for years, and I mainly use it for wreaths and such.

It's partly the "inert after 6 months" bit, partly the "depressive" bit that stops me. Tincture, eh? That might actually stop the loss of efficacy.

It think, beside the fact that the cones were just prime (hardly a wilt on them), it was the resiny smell... a lot nicer than the detestable smell of old hops that makes me flash back (shudder) to the first year of my interest in herbs, when a friend and I used to take turns making "sleeping potions". I made one that was virtually entirely hops (grimace) and have never been the same since.

The fresh hops, though, smelled so much cleaner, and I could feel the resin on my fingers after picking a few. Figured I'd play around with drop doses...