Report on Hops Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using hops (Humulus lupulus). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Contraindications: Hops is not recommended for administration to infants and children or use during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Warning 2 – Antidepressants: Hops increases the CNS effects of antidepressants.

Warning 3 – Antihistamines: Hops increases the CNS effects of antihistamines.

Warning 4 – Antipsychotics: Hops increases the CNS effects of antipsychotics.

Warning 5 – Central Nervous System Depressants: Hops increases the CNS effects of depressants that effect the central nervous system.

Warning 6 – Drug/herb interactions: Because hops decreases a specific enzyme (CYP450), it should not be used with drugs that use this enzyme for metabolism. If you are taking any prescription drug talk to your doctor before using hops.

Warning 7 – Estrogens: Consuming hops increases the levels of this hormone.

Warning 8 – Iron salts: Hops reduces the body’s ability to absorb iron salts.

Warning 9 – Sedatives: Individuals who take sedatives such as: carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, alprazolam, diazepam, diphenhydramine, doxepin and nortriptyline, and Ambien should talk to their doctor before using hops due to its sedative properties. Combining hops with other sedative herbs such as: catnip, St. John’s wort, valerian, or kava kava may result in excessive sedation.

Warning 10 – Alcohol: Because hops may increase CNS effects, experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 11 – Surgery: Hops may cause too much sleepiness when combined with anesthesia and other drug during and after surgical procedures. Stop using hops at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Used as a natural health remedy: hops is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Insomnia
  • Menstrual problems
  • Nervous colitis
  • Nervous dyspepsia
  • Nervous or irritable coughs
  • Palpitations
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Priapism
  • Relaxation
  • Stimulate gastric juice production
  • Stress

Hops is used as an external remedy in combination with chamomile flowers or poppy heads as a formulation for:

  • Boils
  • Bruises
  • Inflammation
  • Locally antiseptic
  • Mild sedative
  • Neuralgic pains
  • Rheumatic pains
  • Swelling
  • Topically bactericidal

Side Effects of hops

No major side effects have been reported in medical studies. The known minor side effects of using hops include:

  1. Nervousness
  2. Depression
  3. Irregular menstrual cycles

Other side effects may also occur when using hops. (See form below)

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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