When asked, most people would probably know the most common use of hops as being used to make beer. This is true, but hops have a much longer and perhaps lesser known history in medicine.
Hops are harvested from a climbing vine, grown in northern Europe since the ninth century, with Germany being its largest producer. Hops is mainly harvested for a part of the plant called a strobile, which is a cone-like flower structure. Only female strobiles are harvested for medicinal use.
Hops have been most commonly used in traditional medicine to treat mild anxiety and to help promote more restful sleep. This can be achieved through the heated aroma, or through the ingestion of the ingredient in capsule form.
A substance called lupulin was isolated from hops in 1813, and anecdotal reports claimed that it was lupulin that was responsible for sleep inducement. This came, at the time, under some scrutiny from medicinal protesters.
It wasn't until much later, in 1983, that a substance was purified from lupulin which showed to produce a sedative effect in some studies. The path of interaction is said to be this particular lupulin extraction compound inducing the natural sleep mechanisms in the body.
Working on its own however could only bring about limited use for a short time period. This is because the body may become used to the ingredient, particularly at a high dose. However, as research continued on hops and its effect when combined with other ingredients, the most common compatibility seemed to be with valerian for best results. This combination has shown changes in people’s brainwave activity consistent with sleep induction.
A randomized controlled trial compared valerian on its own with a valerian/hops combination in people with unbalanced sleeping patterns. Those taking the combination product took less time to fall asleep than those taking the individual compounds.
Timing for the ingredients to work will differ from person to person, depending on other lifestyle factors, and hence dosage may vary between individuals. However, studies have shown sleep quality to improve by over 60 percent.
As well as sleep, these ingredients can help support healthy serotonin function and may also relieve stress and frustration.
In another study that looked at the sedative effects of hops, the conclusion was clear. Hop extract effectively decreased nocturnal activity in the circadian activity rhythm. In other words, it encourages healthy night time brain activity and promotes healthy, restful sleep.
Our Neuro-Natural Sleep and our Neuro-Natural Serenity contain both hops and valerian, alongside many others for long-term use and compatibility for better effect. They have been specifically formulated to help with bouts of stress, bring about natural relaxation and help maintain memory recall. These can be used at any time from 3-6 tablets per day, depending on the level of support needed.
Along with appropriate dietary changes and an overall healthy lifestyle, these formulas could also help support your brain’s ability to manage healthy neuroplasticity. Improvements with these formulas usually occur within a few weeks, with many noticing a more immediate improvement.