More to Hops than Beer

Creative Commons License photo credit: jessicareeder

Yesterday we looked at some common plants from the pea family (Fabaceae) that are fairly well-recognized sources of phytoestrogens: Soy, Red Clover, and Kudzu.
Licorice and Wild Indigo are from the same family and, not surprisingly, also contain isoflavone phytoestrogens.

Dietary sources of isoflavones from the pea family include alfalfa sprouts, peanuts, and lima (butter) beans.

Other compounds in plants aside from isoflavones, however, can also provide estrogenic activity.

One such example is Hops (from the Cannabinaceae, or Hemp Family). Though the majority of Hops’ production world-wide is for the beer-brewing industry, Hops is a beneficial adjunct for estrogen deficiency. In the case of Hops, its estrogenic activity arises from essential oils found in its strobiles (the flowers, as pictured).

Traditionally, Hops was used for nervousness and insomnia, with "sleep pillows" made of Hops flowers becoming popular for this reason. Its sedative effect is also due to its essentials oils.

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