Natural Health Products

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General Information

Hops, a common flavouring agent used in beer, is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It has been used in herbal medicine for many medical conditions. The strobile (the flowering part of the hops plant that looks like a pinecone) has been used for its medicinal effects.

Common Name(s)
Scientific Name(s)

Humulus lupulus

How is this product usually used?

Hops is taken by mouth and can be prepared as an infusion (similar to a tea), a fluid extract (i.e., soaked in alcohol or water to pull the active ingredients out of the dried leaves), a dry powder, a decoction (i.e., boiled down to get the active ingredients), or a tincture (similar to an alcohol extract).

The usual dose for people 12 years and older ranges from 0.5 g to 6 g of dried strobile per day. If it is being used to help with sleep, take the dose 1 hour before bedtime.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Hops has been traditionally used in herbal medicine to help with:

  • digestion and to increase appetite
  • nervousness and restlessness
  • sleeplessness

There is insufficient evidence to show that hops can aid in any of the above uses.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Although hops appears to be generally safe for most people when taken in the recommended daily amount, it can cause side effects such as drowsiness and sedation. Be careful if you are driving, operating heavy machinery, or doing any other activities that require alertness after taking hops.

The hops plant contains pollen, which may cause allergic reactions such as skin irritation, asthma, hay fever, and lung sensitivities.

Stop using hops immediately and see a doctor if you have an allergic reaction. Do not use hops if you are allergic to it or to any plants from the Cannabaceae family (e.g., peanuts, chestnuts, bananas).

Other medications that may interact with hops include:

  • central nervous system (CNS) depressants (e.g., sedatives)
  • estrogen (e.g., tamoxifen, hormone replacement therapy)

Hops should not be taken with other sedative agents (i.e., agents that can slow brain function) because it may increase the chance of side effects. This includes prescription medications and natural products or supplements with sedative effects. Avoid alcohol while taking hops.

Contact your doctor if sleeplessness persists continuously for more than 4 weeks, or if symptoms persist or worsen.

Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, have depression or depression-related conditions, or if you have hormone-sensitive conditions. Stop taking hops 2 weeks before an elective surgery.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

  1. Health Canada. Natural Health Products Ingredients Database. Hops. .
  2. Natural Database. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Hops.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.