I love hoppy beers like India Pale Ales and Double IPAs. Hops is a very aromatic herb that adds bittering and a deeper flavor profile, especially to these types of beer. Depending on the variety though, hops can add much more – sometimes a floral or citrusy flavor and aroma. The effect hops has on relaxation is definitely noted in beer to say the least. But hops are also good for the skin.
The part of hops used is the flower cluster although it looks more like a cone and is called a strobile. The hops vine is quite vigorous and needs a good framework to grow up.
Hops are very good for treating anxiety and sleeplessness. For this it can be used in a pillow or taken as a tincture. The vines of hops have tiny hairs on them that can cause dermatitis during harvest, however, an extract from hops can help dermatitis. Oral administration of hops can also have a beneficial effect on dermatitis.
Some of the bitter properties of hops are due to polyphenols, resins, essential oils and alpha acids such as humulones. Humulone in hops can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and decrease surface blood vessels. It may also have an anti tumor effect.
In one study xanthohumol was found to inhibit elastase and matrixmetalloproteinases. These enzymes in the skin are a significant cause of skin aging as they break down collagen and elastin fibers. When xanthohumol decreases these enzymes, collagen and elastin levels go up. Overall this can improve skin structure. Phytoestrogens in hops such as 8-prenylnaringenin can also have an effect of improving overall skin structure.
According to Wikipedia, hops are toxic to dogs so keep them away from anything made with hops.
Here is some additional information on hops chemistry if you are interested.
Philips N, Samuel M, Arena R, Chen YJ, Conte J, Natarajan P, Haas G, Gonzalez S., Direct inhibition of elastase and matrixmetalloproteinases and stimulation of biosynthesis of fibrillar collagens, elastin, and fibrillins by xanthohumol. J Cosmet Sci. 2010 Mar-Apr;61(2):125-32.
Lee JC, Kundu JK, Hwang DM, Na HK, Surh YJ., Humulone inhibits phorbol ester-induced COX-2 expression in mouse skin by blocking activation of NF-kappaB and AP-1: IkappaB kinase and c-Jun-N-terminal kinase as respective potential upstream targets. Carcinogenesis. 2007 Jul;28(7):1491-8. Epub 2007 Mar 19.