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Squeezing the Life Out of Hops: Are Hop Oils the Elixir of Life?

Nicholas Demski
Written by Nicholas Demski

Are hop oils being oversold as a new trend, or undervalued as an effective medicine?

If you ever visit Florida, be sure to make your way to St. Augustine’s spring so you can live forever.Purportedly, it’s the same spring that Juan Ponce de Leon discovered in his search for the Fountain of Youth.

People have always been on the lookout for the Elixir of Life, the one secret thing that will keep humans young forever. We never find it. Is there a chance we’ve overlooked it?

Consider hops, a key ingredient found in many beers. They’re being squeezed and titillated to release their bitter or fragrant juices. Those juices are condensed into potent batches of hop oil.

Will we start seeing hop oils like this in the same fashion as cannabis oils? Hop oil enthusiasts say they have promising medicinal value. Is that true?

Figure 1. Is this now super healthy?

Let’s consider what drinking beer does to us. One thing is does to me, it makes me tired.

Are hops a sedative?

It turns out that hops act as a sedative and are able to help people sleep better at night. According to one study, hop oils improve the nocturnal rhythms of people who have trouble sleeping at night.1

The study suggested that people with insomnia should use “non-alcoholic beer…due to its hop content and consequent sedative action, which would be an aid to nocturnal sleep.”

Do hops aid in quality of life?

For people who suffer from anxiety or mood disorders, every day can be a struggle. Even the pharmaceuticals used to treat these conditions can produce off-putting side-effects.

Hops may be a better route to treatment.Evidence suggests that daily ingestion of a hops dry extract “significantly improves” anxiety and mood disorders.2

Are hops an inflammation-inhibitor?

By blocking the production of cytokine IL6, and by inhibiting the distribution of several pro-inflammatory transcription factors, a study showed the acids in hop oils appear to be an effective way to mitigate localized inflammation.3

Though the same study noted that hops have been mentioned in folk medicine, they concluded in modern medicine terms that the acids from hop oils do have anti-inflammatory properties, with relatively few side-effects.

As more research looks into the medicinal value of hop oils, the early advocates may be right to suggest that hop oil is the next big thing. Combine the acidic molecules with the terpenes native to hops, and perhaps that juicy, hazy IPA really is healthier. Time will tell. Whether they catch on as well as cannabis oils have is another question.

References

  1. Franco, L., et al, “The sedative effects of hops (Humulus lupulus), a component of beer, on the activity/rest rhythm.”, Acta PhysiologicaHungarica, 2012, Volume 99.2
  2. Kyrou, I., et al, “Effects of a hops (Humlus lupulus L.) dry extract supplement on self-reported depression, anxiety and stress levels in apparently healthy young adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot study”, Hormones (Athens), 2017, Volume 16.2
  3. Van Cleemput, M. et al, “Hop bitter acids efficiently block inflammation independent of GRalpha, PPARalpha, or PPARgamma.”, Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2009, Volume 53.9

About the author

Nicholas Demski

Nicholas Demski

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