What did Native Americans use hops for?

Answered by Robert Dupre

As a Native American, I can share some insights into the traditional uses of hops in our culture. Hops, scientifically known as Humulus lupulus, have been an important medicinal plant for many tribes across North America for centuries. The hop plant is native to various regions and has been utilized for its numerous health benefits.

One common use of hops among Native Americans was as a sleep aid. The flowers of the hop plant were often dried and made into teas or pillows to promote relaxation and induce sleep. This practice was particularly beneficial for individuals who struggled with insomnia or restlessness.

Additionally, hops were used to address bladder problems. Native Americans recognized the diuretic properties of hops and would consume it in the form of teas or infusions to help alleviate urinary issues such as urinary tract infections or difficulty urinating. The plant was believed to have cleansing and healing effects on the bladder.

Anxiety and nervousness were also conditions that Native Americans sought to treat with hops. The calming properties of hops made it a popular choice for individuals experiencing anxiety or restlessness. It was often prepared as a tea or tincture and consumed to promote a sense of calm and relaxation.

Fever reduction was another application of hops in traditional Native American medicine. The plant was believed to have antipyretic properties, meaning it could help reduce fevers. Hops were often used in combination with other herbs to create remedies for various ailments accompanied by fever.

Interestingly, hops were also used to address specific women’s health issues. Native American women would utilize hops to alleviate breast and womb problems. Although the specifics of these uses may vary between tribes, the plant was generally regarded as beneficial for supporting women’s reproductive health. It was often used in the form of poultices or ointments for external application.

While these traditional uses of hops have been known for generations, recent pharmaceutical research has shed more light on the plant’s potential medicinal properties. Scientists have discovered compounds in hops that possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and even anticancer properties. This has led to further exploration of hops as a potential treatment option for various health conditions.

Hops have played a significant role in Native American traditional medicine for centuries. From aiding sleep and addressing bladder problems to alleviating anxiety and treating women’s health issues, hops have been revered for their therapeutic properties. The recent scientific research has only deepened our understanding of the medicinal potential of this remarkable plant.