Beer for Health

Hop (Humulus lupulus), is best known as bitter, aromatic ingredient in beer. It also has a long history in herbal healing, and some of its traditional uses have been supported by modern science.

Chinese physicians have prescribed hop for centuries as a digestive aide and treatment for tuberculosis, dysentery and leposy. Hop was listed as a sedative in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1831 to 1916. Throughout the 19th century, it was an ingredient in many patent medicines, including Hop Bitters, a popular herb tonic in a 30-percent alcohol base.

Its advertising slogan typified patent medicine claims in the era before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): “Take Hop Bitters three times a day, and you will have no doctor bills to pay.”

Hop Bitters poster at Newcastle on Tyne in England in 1880 (Ferdinand, 2014.)

Contrasts of Growing Organic Hop for health purposes

By planting your own organic hop vines, you’ll have total control over what goes into prepping the soil, the fertilizer, watering, pest control and their eventual harvest. Each hop plant is grown from a rhizome, a root piece from a mature plant. From there, you’re on your way to a great organic beer!

Hops growing on a farm.

From a nutritional standpoint, beer contains more protein and B vitamins than wine. The antioxidant content of beer is equivalent to that of wine, but the specific antioxidants are different because the barley and hops used in the production of beer contain flavonoids different from those in the grapes used in the production of wine (Kaplan, 2000)


Bebb, H.T., Houser, H.B., Witschi, J.C. Calorie and nutrient contribution of alcoholic beverages to the usual diets of 155 adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 1971;24:1042–1052

The American Journal of Medical Sciences, Volume 320, Issue 5, November 2000, Pages 320-326