Hops (Humulus lupulus)

Hops Information

Humulus lupulus is the botanical name of the bine (similar to a vine) more well known as the common hop plant. The Humulus genus is part of the Cannabaceae family. Besides Humulus, another genus in the Cannabaceae family is Cannabis.

Humulus lupulus is one of three species in the Humulus genus. The other species are Humulus japonicus (more commonly known as asian hop) and Humulus yunnanensis (more commonly known as yunnan hop). Some consider Humulus lupulus the only species within the Humulus genus, with japonicus and yunnanensis as varieties.

The most common commercial use of Humulus lupulus is as an additive to beer. Humulus lupulus is used in the production of beer as a natural preservative, it also adds a bitter taste to beer and contributes to the psychoactive effects.

Scientific Classification Of Humulus lupulusHops (Humulus lupulus)
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Cannabaceae
Genus: Humulus
Species: Humulus lupulus

Varieties of Humulus lupulus include:
Humulus lupulus var. lupulus
Humulus lupulus var. cordifolius
Humulus lupulus var. lupuloides
Humulus lupulus var. neomexicanus
Humulus lupulus var. pubescens

The plant is thought to have originated in northern parts of Asia and Europe. Beer drinkers introduced the plant to parts of the world outside of Asia and Europe, Humulus lupulus can now be found growing wild in almost all areas of the globe.

Today, countries that produce hops on a commercial scale include Australia, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, North Korea, Poland, Slovenia, UK, and the USA.

Humulus lupulus is classified as a bine. A bine is similar to a vine but vines have tendrils, suckers, and other means of attaching themselves to aid in climbing. Bines use strong stems with stiff hairs to aid in climbing.

In the northern hemisphere, the plant flowers in july-august and the fruit ripens in september-october. Humulus stems have been used to produce fiber that is similar (but less durable) than hemp produced by cannabis plants.

Beer is one of the oldest man-made drinks. The oldest known chemical proof of beer production dates back to 3500-3100 BC. The actual date that the first beer was produced is not known, but it was probably a few thousand years before 3500-3100 BC. Hops have been an integral part of beer brewing for centuries.

The first mention of the use of hops in brewing was in the 11th century. At that time, hops were probably utilized for their bitter taste. Malt is sweet, in order to balance the taste, a bitter substance is needed. In addition to taste, hops have an antibiotic effect on beer. They aid the activity of brewer's yeast, at the same time hops reduce the amount of less desirable organisms.

In the early 1700's, British beer exporters were having a problem being able to supply distant beer markets with a reliable product. In the days before pasteurization and refrigeration, beer brewers had to increase the amount of alcohol and hops the beer was made with.

Alcohol is a bad environment for microbes to grow in, and hops prevent the growth of bacteria that causes beer to go sour. High levels of alcohol combined with large amounts of hops can protect beer from going bad, even when stored for long periods of time under less than ideal conditions.

The British East India Company had expanded to India by the early 1700's. Many English citizens (both troops and civilians) that moved to India wanted beer like that available in England. A type of beer known as India Pale Ale was invented to get beer from England to The East Indies market.

India Pale Ale can still be purchased in some countries today. The original had very high levels of alcohol and hops, but the present version only has slighter higher amounts of both (when compared with regular beer).

How To Use Hops (Humulus lupulus)

The primary active chemicals in hops are humulene, lupuline, and quercetin. The main effects from the consumption of hops are mild sedation of the central nervous system. This may reduce tension and anxiety. In some cases, hops can aid in getting sleep.

You can buy hops suitable for human consumption here. They ship from the USA to most countries. Hops are legal just about everywhere, including America, Australia, Canada, England, and New Zealand.

Hops can be smoked by themselves in a pipe. People who don't consume drugs will notice a mild sedating effect. But if you consume marijuana (or other drugs) regularly, you probably won't feel much.

If you smoke marijuana regularly, a better way to ingest hops is to mix them with marijuana (about 50% of each) and smoke the combination in a pipe. Start with 1/8 to 1/4 gram of each and see what you think. The effects of the combination feels something like being mildly drunk and high at the same time.

Skin contact with any plant in the Humulus genus (any type of hop plant) may cause dermatitis in people that are sensitive. Dermatitis causes inflammation with redness of the affected skin (blisters, edema, and formation of a crust will occur in severe cases).

Prior to ingestion for the first time, rub a small amount against the inner part of your arm, near your wrist. Wait for an hour or two, and look for any reactions on the part of your arm that was used. It might be best not to consume hops if you have any kind of reaction.

Humulus lupulus may enhance the sedative properties of medications like sleeping pills, tranquilizers, etcetera. When consumed in conjunction with any of these types of chemicals, limit the amount of hops you ingest until you know the results.

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The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants:
Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications

Very nice book and considering the subject matter, it's easy to understand. The botany, history, distribution, cultivation, preparation and dosage of more than 400 psychoactive plants. Over 900 pages with hundreds of black and white illustrations and full color photographs.

Information about almost every plant that has been used for medical, spiritual, or recreational purposes. Includes all the common and most of the less common plant drugs. This is the most thorough plant drug encyclopedia available at the present time. Contains three pages of Humulus lupulus info, with images.

The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants

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