NOTE: While the point of this post is showing some cool things that hop tea helps out with, it should be stated that if your symptoms are REALLY bad and you’re in a lot of pain, a doctor would be better. Really.
So, this might come as a complete shock to people who know me well, but…well…every now and then I get stressed and have the odd bout of anxiety. I know, I know, I hide it well, but it’s time that was revealed. So it was interesting for me to find, while aimlessly following an internet search engine trail, that the very same hops that go in to my beer also works as a holistic remedy for stress and several other maladies. Even a few complaints, afflictions, and one or two indispositions.
Thanks to the oils contained in them, hops are believed to help with anxiety, stress, stress-induced stomach problems and insomnia. On top of that, the plant is also a source of estrogen, encouraging milk production for breastfeeding mothers, helping reduce the wild ride that is menopause and bringing down the living hell of period cramps. To make the most of the benefits, it’s encouraged that the hops be fresh enough that the oils haven’t dried out. Freshly picked or bagged versions from homebrew shops should be fine.
After reading all of that, I figured this was worth a test. As luck would have it, the Cascade hops that I have growing on the frame of my porch were just about ready for picking and I had to do a work-related task soon that has a tendancy to cause some high levels of anxiety. I picked a few cones, broke them up, and put them in my french press along with some boiled water. After waiting a few minutes I got this yellowish (yellow from the lupulin sacs that contain the oils), extremely bitter tea. Having never before been so excited to stress myself out, I took my tea and a nice little cup with me to my office and got to work.
To my surprise, the tea worked. I still felt stressed, but instead of going in to the usual red alert which leaves me irritable and worn out, the tea was very noticeably keeping it at a low, steady level. On top of that, I was also feeling rather sleepy and in need of a nap, which wasn’t totally unwelcome.
So for now I’m sold on trying the tea out more. However, while the type of hops in the tea were my favourite and provided a nice taste, it was still really bitter and I can’t help but feel that there were better ways to try it out. Perhaps by making a blend with another tea. So off the bat, here are a couple of other teas to throw in the teapot with the hops. All depends on the purpose.
To Sleep – Chamomile, Lavender, Peppermint (Fun tip: you can also make aromatherapy sleep pillows with these ingredients)
To Soothe the Stomach – Peppermint, Ginger
To Soothe Cramps – Chamomile, Ginger, Raspberry Leaf,
To De-Stress – Kava, Passionflower, Chamomile, Lavender
So if you’re ever feeling stressed out or in need of a good night’s sleep and happen to have some hops handy, maybe give hop tea a try!
6 Comments Add yours
Great article! A company recently brought a hopped coffee to market and I thought to myself… self, those are two very contradictory products, hops would work much better in a decaffeinated tea or even hot chocolate. Although it comes as a surprise to most, the hop plant is very closely related genetically to the cannabis plant. Many of the cannabinoids found in hops are similar or overlap those found in its more intoxicationg cousin. Most of the analgesic and non-pychoactive aspects of the effects you describe derive from these compounds as you note. And although you can smoke them as an alternative to using them in beverages, there is no THC lol…
That being said, a couple things come to mind as far as the ultimate bitterness of your beverage. First and foremost I’d suggest always selecting a type of hops that’s very very low in Alpha acids. All the bitterness in hops derives from AA’s or related isomers. Secondly, focus on strains specifically know to be aromatic. They contain a higher concentration of the desired oils, and will generally impart a more noticeable flavor component that will additionally offset the coincidingly lower AA’s. Third, take a look at the variety of these flavor aspects. In the case of making a hot chocolate mix, something with a little spice would go nicely. In tea, you could look for herbal and floral tones to blend with the present flavors. Fourth, if you can find them, there is a strain (or possibly multiple strains by now) of what are being called Teamaker hops. They’ve been selectively bred for use in teas and other beverages and may be the perfect strain for what your doing. In any case, great idea and it’s definitely not a placebo effect… enjoy.
One of the things I love about doing this site is constantly learning new things from the readers that expands on things. Thanks so much for these great tips! And I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the teamaker hops to see how it goes!
Thanks for the tip! Nice blog btw.. / Hannah, http://bakewithhannah.com
Great tips, Robin! Now, I’m off to share this article with my family of tea drinkers, as well as the rest of your website with my beer loving best friend 🙂
This sounds like it would be worth a try. Thanks for sharing!
My hops are a beautiful addition to my garden. I grew two in pots and they are 15 feet long since Spring started, one month ago. (They died back last winter to nothing.) My big question – can I use the leaves for tea or is it just the cones?