Hops

(Humulus lupulus)

Throughout history, hops have been used less frequently as a medicine. Paracelsus propagated it in the 16th century as a digestive, and Matiolus as a diuretic. A couple of almanacs mention that it was used to purify the blood, liver and pancreas, and its calming effect was discovered only in the 19th century. Probably the most famous person who used this plant abundantly, and not only in beer, was King George III of England, who slept on pillows filled with hop cones, for “weak nerves”. The French pharmacist Planch was the first to isolate lupulin in 1813, a fine resinous substance from female flowers – hop cones. He recommended it for its narcotic effect to everyone who suffered from insomnia, claiming that it makes it easier to fall asleep and calms the nerves, without any negative effects. At that time, opium therapy was popular, which, apart from the addiction, also caused constipation. In addition to calming the nerves, hops were also used to ‘balance’ libido – it was noticed that it increased sexual desire where it was not there, and that it calmed those who could not control it.

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