The Hop is a perennial and herbaceous plant native to Britain and grows wild amongst hedges in certain areas. It is now grown in most countries, especially the Northern Hemisphere.
Its botanical name is Humulus Lupulus and is a dioecious plant (i.e., where male and female flowers are found on separate plants), has heart-shaped leaves, and grows to about 3-6 meters in height. The male flowers are in small loose bunches, and the female flowers are leafy and cone-like catkins. The female flowers are the part used for herbal medicine and brewing.
Mention of the Hop plant dates back to the time of Pliny the Elder, 23-79AD, who refers to it as a garden plant which the Romans ate the young shoots in the spring – similar to the way we eat asparagus. Hops have a long history of use in herbal medicine, especially for their sedative, soothing and calming effects on the mind and body. It also possesses a therapeutic hypnotic and muscle-relaxing action. This herb also contains volatile oil consisting mainly of humulene, bitter principles, and tannins.