Hops plant product for sleep, relaxation, sedation, benefits and side effects
October 12 2016 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Hops plant (Humulus lupulus) is a native British plant with a stout root, heart-shaped leaves and cone-like flowers. Romans ate the young hops plant shoots in the spring in the same way we do asparagus. The plant was first used by breweries in the Netherlands in the early fourteenth century to make beer. Hops has been used traditionally for nervous disorders and to help anxiety or sleep. Good Night Rx is an all natural alternative medicine and effective herbal product for sleep.

Nature's Way Hops Flowers, 310 mg

Supplement Facts:
Hops (flower) 310 mg each pill
Dosage: one or two capsules

Recommendations for hops supplement: Take 1 or 2 hops capsules in the evening. The hops capsules may be opened and placed in a cup with hot water for tea, and lightly sweetened with stevia.

I have read that hops extract, 8-np relieves menopause symptoms. Does this product contain 8-np? If so, then how much is in it?
   Nature's Way company has not tested this substance in this product, so we don't know.

Hops plant benefits
Hops is useful as a sleep inducer, has antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory, estrogen-like properties, and potential anti-tumor activity. Furthermore, compounds in hops may reduce insulin resistance. Additional nutrients helpful for sleep include melatonin and tryptophan amino acid. 5HTP is a nutrient that helps with relaxation. Passion Flower and kava root extract are herbs that help to calm nerves.

J Sci Food Agric. 2013. In vitro and in vivo antioxidant and antimutagenic activities of polyphenols extracted from hops (Humulus lupulus).

Anxiety treatment, sedative
I am looking for documentation on hops helping with reduction of anxiety.
    I have not seen studies using hops alone as a treatment for anxiety. This herb is used mostly for sedation as opposed to anxiety treatment.

An interesting study listed below discusses the ability of compounds in hops plant to act as COX-2 inhibitors just like some of the new arthritis drugs Vioxx and Celebrex which may make hops plant a potential therapy in cases of arthritis.

In vitro and ex vivo cyclooxygenase inhibition by a hops extract.
Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004.
While there has been much research on botanical materials as potential pain-relieving Cox inhibitors, it has not yet been demonstrated that oral consumption of botanical agents can inhibit Cox-2 activity in humans. In particular it would be of interest to determine whether any botanical anti-inflammatory has Cox-1-sparing activity, in order to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects. Seventeen botanical agents, putative anti-inflammatories or pain-relievers all, were evaluated in vitro for Cox-1 and -2 inhibitory potency and selectivity using a caco-2 cell line with ibuprofen as an active control. A promising compound, a hops extract high in alpha acids, showed a Cox-2/Cox-1 IC50 selectivity ratio of 0.06, compared to 4.2 for ibuprofen. Two different formulations of a standardized hops extract (resin and powder) were compared with ibuprofen in a double-blind, randomized, ex vivo study. Subjects consumed hops powder extract, hops resin extract, or ibuprofen, and provided blood samples before and at intervals for 9 h following the first dose. Plasma was extracted and analyzed in a validated Cox-1 and -2 inhibition assay. Results: There were no differences between active treatments or ibuprofen control in Cox-2 inhibitory action, as indicated by 9-hour Cox-2 Area over the Inhibition Curve (AOC); however, hops powder or hops resin extract produced a 9-hour Cox-1 / Cox-2 AOC ratio of about 0.4 (i.e., some degree of Cox-1 sparing), compared to 1.5 for ibuprofen (i.e. no Cox-1 sparing). Hops exhibited Cox-2 inhibition over 9 hours equivalent to ibuprofen 400 mg but had significant Cox-1 sparing activity relative to ibuprofen. Hops extracts may represent a safe alternative to ibuprofen for non-prescription anti-inflammation.

Extracts of several estrogenic herbs, including hops, black cohosh and vitex, inhibit growth of breast cancer cells. These in vitro results suggest that certain herbs and phytoestrogens may have potential in the prevention of breast cancer.

Six flavonoids from hops were tested for their antiproliferative activity in human breast cancer (MCF-7), colon cancer (HT-29) and ovarian cancer. All the hop flavonoids were cytotoxic (cell killing) in the three cell lines. As antiproliferative agents, chalcone and its (flavanone isomer may have potential chemopreventive activity against breast and ovarian cancer in humans.

A potent phytoestrogen in hops, 8-prenylnaringenin, has an activity greater than other established plant estrogens. The estrogenic activity of this compound was reflected in its relative binding affinity to estrogen receptors from rat uteri. The presence of 8-prenylnaringenin in hops may provide an explanation for the accounts of menstrual disturbances in female hop workers. This phytoestrogen can also be detected in beer, but the levels are low and should not pose any cause for concern.

Planta Med. 2013. Hop extracts and hop substances in treatment of menopausal complaints. Hop extract is a long used medicinal product and, regarding hormonal activities, in 1999 a number of prenylflavanones have been identified as its major constituents with 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN) being the main active estrogenic compound. There have been several in vivo studies performed that demonstrate the potential of hop extract and the single compound 8-PN to alleviate climacteric symptoms like osteoporosis, vasomotoric complaints, and sexual motivation. On the other hand, only a few clinical studies have been performed so far, and these mainly focused on menopausal discomforts, especially hot flushes, yielding rather inconclusive results. Despite preferentially activating estrogen receptor α, 8-PN is only slightly uterotrophic, but it also elucidates estrogenic effects on the mammary gland. In conclusion, although hop extract and especially 8-PN are promising candidates as a relief for climacteric symptoms, data on the safety and efficacy is still scarce.

Comparison of the in vitro estrogenic activities of compounds from hops plant (Humulus lupulus) and red clover (Trifolium pratense).
J Agric Food Chem. 2005
Because the prevailing form of hormone replacement therapy is associated with the development of cancer in breast and endometrial tissues, alternatives are needed for the management of menopausal symptoms. Formulations of Trifolium pratense (red clover) are being used to alleviate menopause-associated hot flashes but have shown mixed results in clinical trials. The strobiles of Humulus lupulus have been reported to contain the prenylflavanone, 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN), as the most estrogenic constituent. Extracts of hops and red clover and their individual constituents including 8-PN, 6-prenylnaringenin (6-PN), isoxanthohumol, and xanthohumol from hops and daidzein, formononetin, biochanin A, and genistein from red clover were compared using a variety of in vitro estrogenic assays. On the basis of these data, hops and red clover could be attractive for the development as herbal dietary supplements to alleviate menopause-associated symptoms.

Sedation and sleep
Acta Physiol Hung. 2012 Jun. The sedative effects of hops (Humulus lupulus), a component of beer, on the activity/rest rhythm. The concentration of 2 mg of hop extract effectively decreased nocturnal activity in the circadian activity rhythm.

Sedating effects of Humulus lupulus extracts.
Phytomedicine. 2006.
It was the aim of the study to check ethanolic and CO2 extracts from Humulus lupulus for sedating activity. Both preparations reduced the spontaneous locomotor activity, increased the ketamine-induced sleeping time and reduced body temperature, confirming a central sedating effect. No indications of anxiolytic activity were found in the elevated plus maze test for any of the test preparations. This sedating activity could be attributed to three categories of constituents of lipophilic hops extracts. Though the alpha-bitter acids proved to the be most active constituents, the beta-bitter acids and the hop oil clearly contributed to the sedating activity of lipophilic Humulus extracts.

The Fixed Combination of Valerian and Hops (Ze91019) acts via a Central Adenosine Mechanism.
Planta Med. 2004.
The aim of the study was to demonstrate competition between caffeine and a fixed valerian/ hops extract combination (Ze91019) by the central adenosine mechanism. EEG was used to describe the action of caffeine on the central nervous system after oral administration (200 mg) in healthy volunteers. In addition to caffeine, the volunteers (16 in each group) received either placebo or verum (2 and 6 tablets containing the valerian/ hops extract). The EEG responses were recorded every 30 min thereafter. The valerian/ hops medication was capable of reducing (2 tablets) or inhibiting (6 tablets) the arousal induced by caffeine. This pharmacodynamic action was observed 60 minutes after oral administration, indicating not only competition between the antagonist caffeine and the partial agonist, i. e., the valerian / hops extract but also bio-availability of the compound(s) responsible for the agonistic action. In conclusion, the valerian / hops extract acts via a central adenosine mechanism which is possibly the reason for its sleep-inducing and -maintaining activity.

Comparative study for assessing quality of life of patients with exogenous sleep disorders (temporary sleep onset and sleep interruption disorders) treated with a hops-valarian preparation and a benzodiazepine drug
Institut fur Psychosomatik, Wien. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1998.
This randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial in parallel group design demonstrated equivalent efficacy and tolerability of a hop-valerian preparation compared with a benzodiazepine preparation in patients suffering from sleep disorders according to DSM-IV criteria. Sleep quality, fitness and quality of life were determined by psychometric tests, psychopathologic scales and sleep-questionnaires at the beginning of the therapy, end of therapy (duration 2 weeks) and then 1 week after cessation of therapy. Patients' state of health (4-point scale) and medication tolerability (occurrence of adverse events) were documented. The patients' state of health improved during therapy while showing a deterioration after cessation with both preparations. Withdrawal symptoms, however, were documented with benzodiazepine. Only one adverse drug reaction was reported during this study, namely stomach complaints from both the test and reference medication. This study shows that the investigated hop-valerian preparation in the appropriate dose is a sensible alternative to benzodiazepine for the treatment of nonchronic and non-psychiatric sleep disorders.

Is it okay for a man to use hops to help with sleep, seeing that hops apparently has oestrogen-like properties? I take Sam-e for depression and it causes me to have trouble getting a good rest at night.
   We don't see any problems using hops by men, after all men drink beer made from hops. Besides, many plants have compounds that have estrogenic properties. SAM-e does cause sleep disturbances, so can
ginseng herb and horny goat weed herbal extracts.

Does theanine help with anxiety? Can it be taken with hops herb?
    L Theanine may be a mild anti-anxiety agent, but we need more human studies to determine if this is true. I don't see any reason why it can't be taken with hops herb.

herb hops and stress hops for anxiety.

When to take hops plant supplement
Due to its sedative effects, hops is best reserved for evening or nighttime.

Hops and beer
The first mention of hops being used in beer was in 1067 by Abbes Hildegard of Bingen so hops were likely used pretty widely before then.

Side effects, safety
No major side effects have been reported in medical studies regarding its use as a supplement or in tea.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2014. Respiratory disease associated with occupational inhalation to hop (Humulus lupulus) during harvest and processing. Occupational exposure to hop dust is associated with respiratory disease. Respiratory disease rates were higher in hop workers than in a comparison group of agricultural workers.

Hops Research
Isohumulones, bitter acids derived from hops, activate both peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha and gamma and reduce insulin resistance.
J Biol Chem. 2004
The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are dietary lipid sensors that regulate fatty acid and carbohydrate metabolism. The hypolipidemic effects of fibrate drugs and the therapeutic benefits of the thiazolidinedione drugs are due to their activation of PPARs alpha and gamma, respectively. In this study, isohumulones, the bitter compounds derived from hops that are present in beer, were found to activate PPARs alpha and gamma in transient co-transfection studies. Among the three major isohumulone homologs, isohumulone and isocohumulone were found to activate PPARs alpha and gamma. Diabetic KK-A(y) mice that were treated with isohumulones (isohumulone and isocohumulone) showed reduced plasma glucose, triglyceride, and free fatty acid levels (65, 62, and 73%, respectively for isohumulone); similar reductions were found following treatment with the thiazolidinedione drug, pioglitazone. Isohumulone treatment did not result in significant body weight gain, though pioglitazone treatment did increase body weight (10.6% increase vs. control group). C57BL/6N mice fed a high fat diet that were treated with isohumulones showed improved glucose tolerance and reduced insulin resistance. Furthermore, these animals showed increased liver fatty acid oxidation and a decrease in size, and increase in apoptosis, of their hypertrophic adipocytes. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study for studying the effect of isohumulones on diabetes suggested that isohumulones significantly decreased blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels after eight weeks (by 10.1% and 6.4%, respectively, vs. week zero). These results suggest that isohumulones can improve insulin sensitivity in high fat diet-fed mice with insulin resistance and in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Hops Flower extract 0.30% flavonoids

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