Farm Friday: Hops
Hops has medicinal properties, but it is mostly used for making beer: not only as a flavouring agent, but also aids in preserving it. Other herbs that used to preserve fermented barley were dandelion, marigold, heather and more. Hops tops them all in terms of preventing spoilage and has become the main ingredient, giving beer its distinctive bitter taste and tangy and sharp flavour.
I’ve spent this evening researching hops and while most of the online articles focus greatly on its beer-related history, digging in my aromatherapy, perfume and flavor reveals that there is a lot more to discover about this seemingly single-minded herb. Just to scrape the surface, did you know that:
1. The main ingredient in hops is stored in glands inside the strobiles (the “cones” shaped female flowers) and is called Lupulin. It is highly sensitive to oxidation.
2. Hops has the ability to soothes the nerves and relieve tension. Dream pillows stuffed with hops are a sure remedy for insomnia.
3. In herbal and folklore medicine, hops are used for sexual neurosis in both men and women. Hops is also considered an aphorodisiac. Now that gives beer a whole ‘nother dimension...!
Hops shall receive a more elaborate treatment on SmellyBlog over the next week or more, as I discover its unique characteristics both in my library and my lab.
Have a wonderful weekend!