Hops for Sleep and Anxiety
Hops (Humulus lupulus) is a member of the Cannabaceae family that has been used in traditional European medicine as a mild sedative for the treatment of anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia.
In one study of hops and insomnia, scientists determined that the compounds ethanolic and CO2 extracts in the hops increased the ketamine-induced sleeping time and reduced body temperature, confirming a central sedating effect.
Hops has been found to contain phytoestrogens that may possess estrogen receptor agonist or antagonist properties with unclear effects on hormone-sensitive conditions, such as breast, uterine, cervical, or prostate cancer or endometriosis.
Combining hops with other mildly sedating herbs is common both in Europe and the United States. Chamomile, valerian root, passion flower, lemon balm, American scullcap, and catnip are often used as sleep remedies. These herbs are used alone or in combination as mild sedatives for those suffering from insomnia. In Germany, hops is approved by the government for relieving sleep disturbances.
In the U.S., hops is generally considered to be unproven in research, but yet it appears to help many people. By comparison, hops is commonly used in Europe for insomnia and restlessness.