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Hops are the dried, flowering parts of the hop plant (Humulus lupulus), commonly used in brewing beer. They have limited evidence of health benefits.

The term "hops" comes from the Anglo-Saxon term "hoppan", which means "to climb." Hops contain many chemicals, including bitter acids, which contribute to its bitter flavor. Some chemicals in hops seem to act similarly to the hormone estrogen and some seem to cause sleepiness.

People commonly use hops for anxiety, sleep disorders, restlessness, symptoms of menopause, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

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When taken by mouth: Hops are commonly consumed in foods. Hops extracts and hops bitter acids are possibly safe when used short-term. Hops extracts have been used safely in doses of up to 300 mg daily for up to 3 months. Hops bitter acids have been used safely in doses of 35 mg daily for 3 months. Hops might cause dizziness and sleepiness in some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if hops are safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Hormone sensitive cancers and conditions: Some chemicals in hops act like the hormone estrogen. People who have conditions that are sensitive to estrogen should use caution when taking hops. Some of these conditions include breast cancer and endometriosis.

Surgery: Hops might cause too much sleepiness when combined with anesthesia and other medications during and after surgical procedures. Stop taking hops at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Alcohol

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Alcohol can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Hops might also cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking large amounts of hops along with alcohol might cause too much sleepiness.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Hops might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking hops along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Herbs and supplements with sedative properties: Hops might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking it along with other supplements with similar effects might cause too much sleepiness and/or slowed breathing in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include kava, L-tryptophan, melatonin, and valerian.
Herbs that might act like estrogen: Hops might have the same effects as estrogen. Using it along with other supplements with similar effects might increase estrogen-like effects and side effects. Examples of supplements with this effect include black cohosh, kudzu, peony, and red clover.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Hops are available in many different types of products, including beverages, tablets, capsules, creams, and gels. There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of hops might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

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