For the beer aficionados this Sunday – or on possibly any day after 5pm – you’ll be pleased to know that hops are also health-giving herbs too.
Known for its use in brewing, hop plants can be grown as a garden plant and, like the grape, it’s a quick-growing and quick-spreading vine.
Hops are the female flowers of the hop plant and are used primarily as a flavouring agent in beer where they impart a bitter and tangy flavour.
In the Middle Ages, beers tended to be very low in alcohol, unlike some of the powerhouse crafted beers on the market today, and were commonly consumed as a safer alternative to untreated water.
But hops also are a nerve sedative and a great digestive tonic. The bitter principles in hops are particularly useful for indigestion aggravated by stress or insufficient stomach acid and for gassiness and sour burping.
It can also be used to make a bedtime tea which will help soothe the tummy, put you to sleep and keep you in the land of nod until the alarm sounds in the morning.
Hops tea has a sedative effect to it, allowing those that drink it to feel relaxed and calmed.
For those that suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia or for those that have trouble sleeping in general, drinking a cup of hops tea before bed can encourage the onset of sleep.
Hops can be found in many natural health stores around the country and can be easily stored at home. Just pop the herb into a clean, recycled jar with a screw top lid.
To prepare a cup of hops tea simply take one teaspoon of hops and steep it in a cup of hot water for a ten minutes. The bitterness of the hops can be helped by adding sugar, honey, or lemon if needed. Drink one cup at night to help catch those zzzz’s.