Anxiety and lack of sleep often go hand in hand. You worry about something that should happen in the coming days, and you can't fall asleep. Anxiety and stress are not good even when acute, let alone when they become chronic issues. If you feel like you are too anxious and worried about small things, you could use a supplement with an anxiolytic effect.
These supplements often contain various herbal ingredients, and one of them is hops flower extract. In this article, we are getting to know this plant and its benefits. Check out what you need to know about hops and its effectiveness!
A Brief Overview of Hops Flower
Hops plants belong to the same family as hemp (cannabis). The scientific name of the entire family is Cannabaceae. As for hops, its most popular species is Humulus lupulus. That species has five varieties that the scientists know of, and these originate from various continents.
The plant itself originates from the Northern Hemisphere. The first indication is that hops were used in Germany at around the mid-700s AD. Ever since the first familiar use, the herb has become a popular ingredient in beer-brewing. A hop herb has rhizomes, bines, and flowers. Flowers can be both male and female, but females have a higher resin yield.
When it comes to medical benefits of hops, this plant has become a frequent addition to various health supplements. The scientists believe it can promote optimal sleep and assist in dealing with insomnia and provide anxiety relief. We checked out the studies, and here is what the research on these topics says.
Research Study 1 (Hops Flower & Anxiety, Depression & Stress)
International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism called Hormones published an intriguing study in 2017. The research focused on patients that were healthy but reported stress, anxiety, and depression-like symptoms themselves. A total of 36 participants only included five males, and the average age of volunteers was around 25 at the time.
The researchers administered a placebo and hop dry extract to the participants with the wash-out periods in between. They used the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale 21 as a way of measuring the results. The ratings were lower when participants received hops than with placebo (5.1 to 9.2 on average).
It is worth noting that all the participants only had mild anxiety and depression symptoms.
Regardless, the study confirms that hops can assist in mood disorders and anxiety relief.
Research Study 2 (Hops Flower & Depression)
Research about hops flower and its potential antidepressant and sleep-promoting properties go way back. It was in 2005 when Italian researchers discovered insights into the characteristics of this plant.
According to their study on rats, hops showed a clear anxiolytic and antidepressant effect on these animals. Additionally, it was able to promote sleep in rats without affecting their motor behavior.
Research Study 3 (Hops Flower & Anxiety)
Another study focused on rats was conducted in 2012. The goal was to compare hops' effects to diazepam when it comes to anxiolytic and sedative properties. The study involved 30 male rats who were administered diazepam or hops flower extract.
The results confirmed that hops could offer better anxiolytic and sedation characteristics than diazepam.
Furthermore, it could be a viable alternative as a pre-anesthetic and a way of relaxing before surgeries.
Research Study 4 (Hops Flower & Anxiety)
Rats participated in another study published in the AANA Journal in 2013. However, the scientists focused on a particular compound found in hops. It is xanthohumol, and the goal was to discover if this substance can communicate with GABA receptors.
The researchers picked 55 rats for the study and divided them into five groups. They had a control group who received a placebo, a group that received xanthohumol, only midazolam, or combinations of flumazenil or midazolam with xanthohumol.
The results reported that xanthohumol might be capable of interacting with midazolam. That indicates hops could augment the effect of this medication and be used as a supplemental treatment for anxiety disorders.
Research Study 5 (Hops Flower & Sleep)
If you are a fan of non-alcoholic beer, you will appreciate the study conducted in 2012. The researchers picked 17 female nurses who worked night or rotating shifts. The idea was to see whether non-alcoholic beer could assist in promoting an optimal sleep pattern.
The participants were consuming 333 milliliters of beer without alcohol but made with hops. The researchers asked them to consume the drink with dinner for two weeks.
The results indicated that non-alcoholic beer in recommended doses promotes optimal rest.
Additionally, the participants who consumed beer with hops reported they were considerably less anxious than before.
Research Study 6 (Hops Flower & Sleep)
Another study related to non-alcoholic beer was conducted in 2013.
Its results showed that students could benefit from improved sleep quality, which is an effect the beer delivers because it contains hops.
The researchers asked 30 university students to go through a three-week-long study, and they reported a higher quality of sleep after consuming non-alcoholic beer.
Can Other Herbs Work Well with Hops Flower Extract in Supplements?
It is worth noting that the effects of hops flower could be combined with other plants that have similar benefits. For example, a study published in 2013 discussed a combination of hops, passionflower, and valerian.
The researchers asked the participants to take the herbal blend or zolpidem to help with their insomnia.
The conclusion was that the mixture of hops, valerian, and passionflower could be a viable alternative to zolpidem.
Hops flower extract has properties that may allow for sleep aid and relief from anxiety symptoms.