Pregnancy Use

Caution in pregnancy because of possible hormonal effects. PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Hops is often used as a mild sedative in combination with other herbs such as valerian and passionflower.

• Several randomised trials have found that the combination of hops and valerian improve sleep quality, without next-day drowsiness; however, further investigation is required to determine the role of hops in achieving this effect.

• Although generally taken orally, it has also been successfully used as a bath additive and in aromatherapy pillows to induce sleep.

• It is traditionally used to treat anxiety, restlessness, pain, neuralgia and indigestion.

• It should not be used in patients with oestrogen-dependent tumours, and should be used with caution in pregnancy.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this herb do for me?

Hops may be a useful treatment for anxiety and restlessness, and when combined with other sedative herbs, such as valerian or passionflower, improves sleep quality without inducing next-day hangover effects. When will it start to work?

Several doses may be required; however, effects are generally seen within 2 weeks. Are there any safety issues?

Constituents in the herb appear to have some oestrogenic activity, therefore people with oestrogen-dependent tumours should avoid its use.

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