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Hop Flowers (Humulus lupulus)Latin Name: Humulus lupulus
Common Names: Hop Flowers
People who appreciate good beer and ale are familiar with the sharp, bitter taste imparted by Humulus lupulus, better known as Hop Flowers. Distantly related to hemp, Hop Flowers are a type of non-vine climbing perennial that like other herbs, grow starting early in the spring and die back in the fall. Powder Hop Flowers are used not only as a flavoring agent in beer and ale (as are many other types of bulk herbs), but as a preservative as well; the popular "India Pale Ale" produced by many regional microbreweries across the US had its origins in the early 19th Century when the old British Empire was at its height. In the days before refrigeration, most traditional English ales could not survive the six-month voyage from London to India aboard clipper ships; therefore, ale destined for outlying British territories contained an extra measure of Hop Flowers as a preservative.
The preservative action of natural herbs like Hop Flowers are connected to its reported medicinal properties. The active biochemical in c/s Hop Flowers, known as humulene, is believed to have antibacterial and stimulant properties. Dried Hop Flowers, when brewed as a tea, is one of such wildcrafted herbs that may also have calming properties. In addition, Hop Flowers are known to contain beneficial flavonoids, which have anti-oxidant properties.
Studies of the actual therapeutic benefits of Hop Flowers are not yet conclusive. People using such bulk organic herbs for medicinal purposes should consult a licensed herbalist or healthcare professional.
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