Hops extract – properties and applications

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Hop cones are associated primarily with brewing. Hops extracts are also used as pharmacopoeia ingredients with sedative and sleep aiding properties. In recent years, it is also the cosmetics industry that has been discovering beneficial applications of this substance.

Chemical composition of hops extract

Hops extract is obtained primarily from hop cones, sometimes also from the lupulin glands present on their surface. The extract abounds in essential oil ingredients: terpene and sesquiterpene compounds, such as humulene, myrcene, farnesene and caryophyllene. They are accompanied by bitter resins: alpha acids (lupulones), beta acids (humulones) and their derivatives (including methylbutenol) and many phenolic acids, tannins, flavonoids and chalcones. However, one of the most important substances in hops extract is xanthohumol. It is a very strong antioxidant, and one of the compounds determining beer flavor.

Hops to calm your nerves and ensure good sleep

In the pharmaceutical industry and dietary supplements, hops extract is used primarily in sedative and sleep aiding products. This effect is provided both by the oil fraction present in the extract, as well as the bitter alpha and beta acids, which show inhibitory effects on the function of the cerebral cortex. This efficacy has been proven in numerous clinical trials; the use of hops extracts is also characterized by high safety profile.

Furthermore, 8-prenylnaringenin, a compound found in the hops extract, shows certain estrogenic effects. It means that it can be successfully used in alleviating menopausal symptoms that tend to lower the quality of life: hot flashes, anxiety, episodes of depressed mood.

The ample quantities of bitter alpha and beta acids make hops extract a useful digestive tract remedy, to address such conditions as indigestion, diarrhea or bloating. Hops extracts is also mentioned by folk medicine as a useful substance to treat other ailments, from diastolic and anti-inflammatory effects, to the treatment of premature ejaculation and hypersexuality. However, these applications have not been confirmed in evidence-based trials.

Application of hops extract in cosmetic products

Although hops extract is associated primarily with foodstuffs and oral ingestion, its properties are also valued by the cosmetic industry. It is found in many cosmetic products, such as shampoos and hair conditioners, creams, balms and preparations to treat seborrheic dermatitis.

Hops extract, and in particular the lupulones and xanthohumol it contains, have potent antimicrobial properties used to treat acne. When used on the hair, cosmetic products with hops extract are effective in treating dandruff and hair loss. Furthermore, xanthohumol is an extremely potent antioxidant: research has shown that its properties are even more active than those of vitamin C and E, making it an anti-aging agent. The rejuvenating action of hop is also attributable to its properties stimulating the production of hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin.


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