Botanical Name: Humulus Lupulus | Family: Cannabaceae (older taxonomy: Moraceae)

Common name(s): Hops


  • Perennial, herbaceous, vining | zones 4-8 | 8 feet and taller | green stabiles, which are the hops’ flowers and look like papery green pine cones are abundant by late summer.
  • There are male and female plants. For hops use, fertilization is not desired so male plants aren’t necessary.
  • Found in disturbed soil vining onto structures, trees, and fences. Likes normal to rich soil, will tolerate poorer soil. (Till and manure soil to a good depth before planting.)
  • Propagate via root division. Hard to grow from seed. Stems root where they make contact with soil.
  • Sun, partial shade.

Companion planting: do not plant with less vigorous herbs.


  • Collect strobes when fully developed but still goldish green (not tan).
  • The young shoots in the spring are edible, like asparagus.
  • Drying: expose to heat but do not overheat, hops can spoil quickly (especially if picked moist) without enough heat and essential oils volatilized if too much heat


Parts: Strobiles (flowers), fresh or dried

Infusion: 1 cup boiling water over 1 tsp dried flowers, let sit for 10-15 minutes. Drink at night to induce sleep. Strengthen dose if needed.

Tincture: 1-4ml 3x/day

External: Sleep pillow, pain relief pillow (toothache and earache) when warmed, bath herb, foot soak, brown dye (from leaves and flower-heads)


  • Constituents: Humulene, Lupulin (powder on the seeds and surface of the scales), Lupamearic acids (cholene and resin).
  • Actions: sedative, astringent, nervine, diuretic, tonic, anodyne
  • Uses: sleep aid, pain reliever, improves appetite and digestion
  • Cautions: hops are strong, use cautiously. Can aggregate depression. (Poisonous to dogs)

Combinations: Valerian and Passion Flower.

(Reference A Modern Herbal, p 414, for more uses involving other parts of the plant.)


  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
  • Homegrown Herbs, Tammi Hartung
  • A Modern Herbal, M. Grieve
  • photo credit: katrinket via photopin cc

I saw hops growing on the side of an  old brick mill building when I took my permaculture class. It was a very vigorous plant! I have the perfect place to grow one, up the staircase on the back of my barn. Anyone local have a root cutting?