Humulus lupulus
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Other names: Humulus lupulus, humulus, northern vine, bine
General Description: A Eurasian climbing shrub seen growing along road sides. Hops are perennials belonging to the group of nettles. The female plants bear cone-shaped formations, representing clusters of blossoms. It is this cone that is processed for use in beer. Hops impart a bitter flavor and pleasant aroma to beer, increasing the refreshing quality and stimulating digestion. They help to clarify the wort and assist in preserving beer. hops.jpg (8510 byte)

Parts Used: The female flowers, (strobiles)

It was chosen as an ingredient of Wonderup because: Contains flavonoids, whose action in regulating the hormonal production facilitates the development of the mammary glands which 'feed' on estrogens. Hops flavonoids thus contribute to a healthy breast development.

Other characteristics and properties:
Hops are a common plant in Europe, cultivated in regions where beer is produced, since they are at the basis of the bitter flavouring of this drink. In spite of the fact that this plant has not been much used in ancient times for its therapeutic virtues, it has been mentioned since the 12th century as a "remedy against melancholy" for its aperitive (stimulating the appetite), depurative, laxative and vermifuge (serving to destroy or expel parasitic worms) properties, while there has been a confirmation of some effects traditionally attributed to it, such as particularly the sedative and relaxing action. These functions are widely justified considering the content in aminoacids and in hormone-like substances, while, because of the content of the essential oil and of phyto-hormonal substances, hops is also effective for the healthy growth of hair, since it stimulates metabolic functions of the superficial tissues of the scalp.

The main components of hops are a resin and a volatile oil. Besides, hops contain flavonoids, proteins, starch, glucids, and phytoestrogens.

Hops are most commonly used for their calming effect on the nervous system. Hops is an excellent sedative - used to induce better sleeping patterns - and in cough syrups. Dried flowers may be sewn into a pillow to help insomnia and healing.

Hops tea is also recommended for insomnia, nervous diarrhea, and restlessness. Hops poultice is used for abscesses - boils - tumors and pain.

Honey combined with hops is excellent for bronchitis.

History and curiosities:
Hops are universally known as a flavoring and preservative in beer. Traditional Uses: Historically Hops have been used as a sleeping aid. Pillows filled with Hops were used to sleep on. Hops was first used in England in the 16th century to flavor beer.
Current Status: Hops are still used in Europe as a remedy for sleeplessness.

Beer Hops May Help Prevent Cancer
Copyright 1998 The Associated Press
March 15, 1998

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- Compounds found in the plant called hops, used to flavor and preserve beer, may help protect against cancer, researchers say.
Studies indicated the compounds, called flavonoids, helped inhibit an enzyme called cytochrome P450 that can activate the cancer process.
Oregon State University scientists also found that some of the flavonoids helped enhance the impact of a class of enzymes, called quinone reductase, that can block cancer-causing substances that already have been activated.
"We treated human breast, colon and ovarian cells that were cancerous with concentrations (of flavonoids) that were not harmful to normal cells and found that some of the hops flavonoids were toxic to cancer cells,'' said Donald Buhler, an agricultural chemist and lead researcher.
The substance in the hops flavonoids most toxic to cancer cells is named xanthohumol, he said.
Buhler warned the research should not be used to endorse more beer consumption. "I wouldn't encourage people to drink more,'' he said.
"Obviously there's a downside to drinking. But these results are really interesting. If these things really prove to be beneficial it might be possible to find a way to get them to people in capsules or some other concentrated form.''
His findings recently were reported in Seattle at the annual meeting of the international Society of Toxicology.

Want to Lower Cancer Risk? Try Beer With Steak
Beer, an Anticancer Potion?

By Willam Loob
An apple a day, according to folk wisdom, can keep the physician from knocking on your door. Now, according to a team of cancer researchers in Japan, a pint of beer with the grilled steak might not be such a bad idea either.
The results of a study conducted by investigators at Okayama University offers some evidence that beer might actually help counteract the carcinogenic effects of a class of compounds found in cooked food. Specifically the study looked at the effects of beer on the mutations caused by these compounds that are the first steps in changing healthy cells into cancerous ones. The results were published in the January 1999 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The researchers examined the effectiveness of 24 different beers in thwarting mutations associated with several types of heterocyclic amines produced when heat is applied to food. Foods containing proteins produce especially high levels of the compounds, and their connection to tumor-forming processes were first reported more than a decade ago. The beers tested came from around the world, and included 17 lagers, four stouts, two ales and one nonalcoholic brew. Interestingly, the researchers found that the stouts demonstrated the most dramatic effects in inhibiting the cancer-related mutations, while the nonalcoholic beer and one of the lagers showed no such effects.
The findings in this study help reinforce the idea that hops may have anticancer properties, as reported by others. In a 1995 study, conducted by another group Japanese researchers, experiments demonstrated that the flavonoids in hops (the yellow pigments in the blossoms) inhibit an inflammatory reaction in human skin tumor cells. Another study by investigators at Oregon State University in 1998 also showed that the flavonoids were toxic to certain cancerous human cells, though they were tolerated well by normal, noncancerous cells from the same types of human tissues.

Your very good health
New Scientist 21 Mar 98

REGULARLY downing a few pints at your local might make you less likely to get cancer, says a team of scientists in the US. They have shown that beer contains substances that can halt tumour growth and help destroy the toxins that cause cancer. The discovery could lead to the development of anticancer drugs with fewer unpleasant side effects. Donald Buhler and Cristobal Miranda of Oregon State University in Corvallis and their colleagues tested nine compounds called flavonoids isolated fom hops. These bitter-tasting chemicals give beer its distinctive taste. The researchers told the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology in Seattle earlier this month that some of the flavonoid compounds slowed the growth of human breast and ovarian cancer cells by 50 per cent. Two of the compounds also led to a fourfold boost in production of a detoxifying enzyme called quinone reductase in mouse liver cells. This protein helps rid the body of carcinogens. The results fit in with the suggestion that flavonoids in soya beans am partly responsible for the low incidence of breast cancer in Asia (This Week, 14 March, p 14). Exactly how much beer you have to drink to benefit from its cancer-preventing qualities is not clear. But Miranda says it was encouraging that when isolated, the flavonoids slowed the growth of cancer cells at doses unlikely to have any significant toxic effect. He believes the finding may lead to anticancer drugs with fewer side effects than current treatments. "The ultimate aim is to produce refined versions of some af these chemicals that might be given with existing cancer treatments," he says. Michael Day

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