Hops, known botanically as Humulus lupulus, is a plant commonly known for its use in the beer brewing industry. However, hops extracts are also used in herbal medicine. Hops have a history of use in China to treat leprosy and tuberculosis, according to Purdue University. Today, hops extract is marketed as a sleep aid and for reproductive health. As with all herbal medicine, consult your doctor before taking hops extract.
Historically, hops extract was used in folk medicine as a tonic, sedative and anti-inflammatory agent to reduce swelling. Today, the cosmetic industry uses hops extracts in lotions and creams for its skin-softening properties. The food manufacturing industry uses hops extracts to flavor candy, baked goods and frozen dairy desserts. Hops is on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s list of items generally recognized as safe.
Though hops extract has several uses, many lack clinical data support. Using hops extract as a sedative is most commonly supported. Hops extract is clinically proved to have sedative capabilities. According to a study published in the September 2006 issue of the journal “Phytomedicine,” hops exerts a sedative effect on your central nervous system. It has the capacity to reduce locomotor activity and body temperature and to promote sleep.