Hops have been prized for centuries for their role in brewing
Hops have been prized for centuries for their role in brewing. Now researchers have found support for another use for them: fighting the symptoms of menopause. In a recent study, menopausal women aged 45 to 60 years who took a standardized extract of hops (Humulus lupulus) experienced improved quality of life and significantly fewer hot flashes than those who took a placebo.
For the 12-week study, participants took one of two strengths of hops extract or a placebo. Those who took the hops extract had fewer menopause-related complaints; however, the women who took the placebo also improved significantly overall (placebo effects tend to be high in studies of phytoestrogens for menopause symptoms). This isn't conclusive evidence. Clearly more studies are needed to confirm these promising results and to discover the most effective dose.
Hops, like soy and red clover, contain hormone-like substances known as phytoestrogens, which can bind to estrogen receptors and produce therapeutic effects. These effects can occur often without the side effects of prescription hormone replacement drugs. To find more information or to find out whether hops are right for you, consult with your healthcare provider.