The use of hops for medicinal purposes has been ongoing for hundreds of years. While it has been used for many more years to brew beer, it has only been found to have health related properties for the last few centuries. Hops are used extensively in brewing beer due to their antibacterial and anti fungal mechanisms assisting in the activity of brewer’s yeast.
For many years many herbal combinations were used in beer brewing but after the discovery of hops and its ability to preserve beer for a longer period of time, the others were abandoned and hops became the primary herbal additive.
Hops have long been used in herbal medicine to treat anxiety, insomnia and restlessness. It is said that King George the III was treated with hops by filling his pillows with the substance to calm him. The remedy was apparently effective due to the strong and pungent odor of hops where inhalation can result in relaxation and ultimately sleep.
Native Americans found hops to be effective for female problems, digestion, pain relief, kidney stones, and sedation.
Lupulone, a component of hops has been tested as a treatment for tuberculosis as it appears to be effective in laboratory tests. In England in the early to mid 1900s it was observed that death from tuberculosis in brewery workers was a mere 1/3 of the general population. Similar observations were made in Bavarian brewery workers.
For many years synthetic estrogen and progesterone were the standard treatment for menopausal symptoms. When it was found that these treatments came with significant risks many women were advised to discontinue this form of menopause symptom relief.
Researchers have been searching for a safe, natural alternative to synthetic estrogen. They have found that hops contain the most powerful phytoestrogen substance ever to be discovered.
It is known as 8-PN or 8 prenylnaringenin. In ancient times, women used black cohosh, soy, red clover and flaxseed that are now known to contain phytoestrogen and these substances did help to ease the symptoms of menopause.
Since phytoestrogen resemble the pharmaceutical estrogen preparations, they have been shown to be effective in treating menopausal symptoms without the risks associated with traditional ERT (estrogen replacement therapy).
As with estrogen replacement therapy, the hops 8-PN appears to protect against bone loss and cardiovascular disease. 8-PN may also have cancer-fighting properties and may be even more effective than synthetic estrogen compounds. Current research shows promise regarding these protections. We are seeing exciting and ongoing discoveries to treating women who suffer from menopausal symptoms with natural and safer substances!
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