This “little wolf” is worth a second look!

This plant has fascinated me since I first started learning about medicinal herbs back in the year 1990.
Here’s why:

  • What a crazy name! Humulus lupulus — every other letter is a u!
  • What a COOL name! Humulus = “from the ground” and lupulus = “little wolf”, so Humulus lupulus = “little wolf from the ground”. HAHAHA! 😀
  • It’s not really a VINE, it is a BINE. The difference is, this plant climbs by twining its own shoots around a support in the shape of a helix, rather than by using tendrils or suckers to pull itself up.
  • It is dioecious, meaning each plant is either a male or a female.
  • It is in the Cannabaceae — the Cannabis family — something that appealed to me back then, in my teens! 😛
  • It is a mild natural sedative, often used as an herbal remedy for insomnia, or to calm restlessness.
  • It is a natural antimicrobial and antibacterial — not a common property, and of great value to herbalists like I was aspiring to be!
  • It is a source of plant estrogens (phytoestrogens) and is being researched for use in hormone replacement therapy.
  • The female plant has these amazing looking little green “pine cones” — also called HOPS!

It wasn’t until about two decades later, when I moved back to the great redneck state of Texas, that I realized just how well-known my beloved Humulus lupulus is for its most common use: making beer! LOL, I still find it amazing that a cousin of Mary Jane is used to make one of the world’s most accessible and most commonly abused substances! I know, right?! 😛

To me, hops is an awesome plant species and a potentially helpful little herb. I still hope to grow my own bines some day, for their distinctive growth habit and cute little green “cones”, if for nothing else. And if I can stop people from stealing my hops to try brewing their own beverage, lol, I may try to make myself some calming hop tea, and see if it helps chase off infection or even helps regulate my hormones during menopause. No matter what, I am grateful for this extremely unique “little wolf from the ground”! 😀

More on this topic:
Encyclopedia of Life
WebMD: Uses, Side Effects…
Hops Plant Uses, Benefits…
Plants for a Future
Nature Gate
Dave’s Garden
Missouri Botanical Garden



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