Hops extract is an herbal supplement that is made from the flowers of the hops plant. While these flowers, which are also sometimes known as seed cones, are more often associated with adding flavor to beer during its preparation, hops is also a useful herb that aids in calming the nervous system and promoting restful sleep. The extract makes it possible to administer a few drops when and as needed, allowing the user to obtain some relief from stress or to settle down enough to get to sleep.
The process of making hops extract normally involves drying and powdering the hops flowers or cones, then adding the powder to a good quality of alcohol, with vodka being preferred by many enthusiasts. The combination is sealed and stored in a cool dark place. Once a day, the container should be shaken. At the end of two weeks, the container should be left alone for a day or two, allowing the powder to settle to the bottom. The liquid can then be strained and placed into a dropper bottle, making it easy to use the extract when and as needed.
There are several essential nutrients contained in this extract. Significant amounts of the B vitamins, especially niacin, as well as potassium are present. In addition, there are moderate amounts of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C, as well as trace amounts of zinc and vitamin A. Many of these nutrients, when taken together can help promote a more balanced mood and alleviate difficulty sleeping.
Along with being a useful aid to help people sleep and relax during times of stress, herbalists note that hops can help with various types of gastrointestinal distress, including indigestion or sour stomach. Cramps are also said to calm when a few drops of the extract are taken every couple of hours. Anecdotal evidence also points to the nutritional supplement as being effective with relieving the pain of a gall bladder attack, or helping an individual through the difficulties associated with experiencing a panic attack.
Many of the claims for hops extract have not been confirmed by Western medicine. Primarily, it is practitioners of different alternative healing options who promote its use. People who have tried hops in some form, such as hops capsules or extract, often find that the supplement works best in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle that includes eating a balanced diet and exercising for at least 30 minutes each day. As with any herbal supplement, care should be taken when combining it with various prescription medications. In particular, people who are currently taking anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication should check with a medical professional before trying the extract, since it may negatively interact with those medications.