Humulus lupulus L., Hops

Humulus lupulus L., HopsHumulus lupulus L., Hops

Key takeaways

  • Hops are ubiquitous in modern and ancient culture, with recent research pointing towards efficacyin treatment of mild insomnia[2, 4, 6, 7].
  • Hops are thought to work by modulating theGABAAreceptors[1].


Humulus lupulusL., known as Hops, is a memberof the Cannabaceae family and is perennial climbingplant which produces female inflorescences containingtrichomes, which are production sites for many sec-ondary metabolites[2]. Hops have always been of eco-nomic and societal interest mainly due to its usage inbeer production, however, recent research has also re-newed interest in the volatile oils of hops for therapeuticuses[2, 4, 7].Three classes of secondary metabolites are mostprominent in hops – bitter acids, hop essential oils, andpolyphenols[4]. These compounds have been found tohave pharmacological properties ranging from sedativeactivities to estrogenic and chemopreventive activities[2,4, 7].The main essential oils present in hops ared-Limonene,β-Myrcene,β-Ocimene,α-Pinene, Terpino-lene, Geraniol, and Linalool[2][2][2], as well as isoxantho-humol (IXN) and 6-prenylnaringenin (6PN)[1]. All ofthe biologically active compounds in hops compromiseabout 30% by weight of the cones[4].In animals, hops have been found to produce seda-tive and hypnotic effects, however in humans, the lupulinand bitter acid compounds from hops do not so clearlyproduce these effects[6]. Some studies which examinedthe effects of the combination of valerian and hops indi-cate that there were some improvements in certain sleepparameters[5, 6], although more research is warranted.Hop research in the last few decades has been largelydedicated to the biological activities of single hop compo-nentsin-vitroin animal models[7], rather than in clinical trials with humans.

Mode of Action

Pharmacological Effects

Potential Uses

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