Friday, May 21, 2010

Hops, Bacteria and Livestock

Hops have been used to feed animals and provide bedding that dates back to ancient times. It's kind of a shock farmers don't utilize their hops more, especially when the market is flooded because many brewers are starting to grow their own. Hops reduces bacterial growth in many livestock animals which can prevent many illnesses such as, ammonia, strangles, mad cow and more.


Cattle are ruminants, which means they have a digestive system that allows use of processing indigestible foods by regurgitating and re-chewing it as "cud". They then re-swallow the cud for further digestion in the rumen that is filled with microorganisms. These microbes are primarily responsible for decomposing cellulose and other carbohydrates into volatile fatty acids that cattle use as their primary metabolic fuel. In the rumen cattle produce a hyper-ammonia-producing bacteria or HAB that break down their amino acids, which is a chemical process that produces ammonia and steals the animal of amino acids that build muscle tissue.

For decades, farmers had to purchase expensive feeds to reduce HAB growth. Recently, studies have proved that hops can reduce HAB growth and ammonia production. Makes sense, I mean that is why hops were originally added to beer, to reduce bacterial growth.


Horses, dogs and other breeds of animals get a bacterial disease called strangles, also known as distemper, which infects the upper part of the respiratory tract and makes it hard to breathe. Hence the name strangles. I found an old recipe farmers have used for horses with strangles.

2 ounces hops
30 drops of carbolic acid

Mix with hot water and make the animal inhale the steam for 15-20 minutes. Repeat 3 times a day. Apply a warm mustard paste to the throat and place a warm poultice over the paste. Feed the animal warm mashes and steamed vegetables.

Give following powders once a day.
2 ounces Peruvian bark
1 ounce powdered gentian
1 ounce powdered copperas
Mix all together and split into 8 powders.

There is a wide range of uses for hops, yet most hop growers still only use it for brewing beer. If we as a society use our natural resources instead of making chemically processed foods and antibiotics for our animals, we as humans will consume better food without the unnecessary hormones and chemicals farmers are having to put into our food.

Farm green live well!

- Resources -
Guy, Chris, April 20, 2010,
"Hops Helps Reduce Ammonia Produced by Cattle" Accessed 20 May 2010

Dunning N. A. (1891) The farmers' alliance history and agricultural digest (pg 677). Washington, D.C.: Alliance Publishing Company

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Make Hop Tea

Since the popularity of brewing, we have lost touch with the many uses of hops. Hop tea has dated back to the ancient times. The hop oils can help people in many ways. Like the sleep pillows, hop tea aids in insomnia, can promote appetite, cleanses your blood, can relieve arthritis pain, relieve gas and cramps by soothing muscle spasms and some say it can aid smokers with their cravings and nerves (I am not sure about this. I always want to smoke more when I drink). I've also read, it can help women develop more milk while breast feeding and possibly cancer.

Here is a basic recipe I found online.

Basic Hop Infusion or Tea

Place 1 ounce dried hops per 1 quart jar

Fill with boiling water

Strong Infusion ~ Cover jar. Steep for atleast 4 hours but not more than overnight. Strain infusion and store in refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Serve hot or cold.

Hop Tea ~ Steep for 10-20 minutes. Strain and drink. This method is milder flavored as well as less effective. Serve hot or cold

Note: Many people will add other herbs such as, chamomile, peppermint, lemon grass, ginger or other herbs, which can aide in many ways as well.

- Has antibacterial, antiseptic and disinfectant properties. Probably why most people drink it when they are sick.
- Aides in digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems and is also an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic herb
Lemon Grass
- Improves circulation, digestion and promotes oxygen intake
Ginger - Aides respiratory and digestive systems

Haven't got a chance to look too much into it, but OSU hop program has developed a hop that would be great for making tea. This variety does not have as much bittering properties as other varieties. It's called the "Teamaker". Here is an article I found about the variety. Click Here.

If you know more about the "Teamaker," please send me an email. Thanks!

Check out this link This gentleman has broken down tea more in depth. Great site.


Resources ~
Recipe -

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hop Shoots - The New Asparagus

After the first year a hop rhizome has been planted, most people thin out the shoots to maximize their yield. This allows the hop to use less energy to feed its bines and hops. What do you do with all those shoots? Throw them into the compost pile? Well, not no more! Why not eat them? The Romans were the first to use hop shoots in culinary and Egyptians were the first to use them for medicine. They were used to help liver disease and digestive pains. In modern days, the Belgians consider the shoots a delicacy and use them in gourmet dishes.

Hop shoots are best picked between 6-8 inches. If there was a current frost it may make them woody and tough. I've read hop shoots taste like a cross between spinach and asparagus. Every article I've read says to boil or steam them like asparagus and top them with butter and lemon or hollandaise sauce.

I thought this would be a good time to bring up hop shoots. It's that time of year!

Hope everyone enjoys!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beer... more than just a drink

Beer isn't just for drinking. Some breweries offer beer bathes. Most of these can be found in the Czech Repulic, Germany and Austria. A soothing beer bath is created by adding active beer yeast, hops and dried crushed herbs to mineral water that is heated to about 93 degrees. After you soak 20-30 minutes they will wrap you in a blanket to allow the skin to soak all the benefits.

Beer Spa Bahenec located in Czech Republic is a great site to see what a beer bath is all about.

If you viewed the site above you already that each ingredient serves a purpose. The warm water allows your skin pores to open, the hops exfoliate the skin, and the active beer yeast contains B vitamins and saccharides. This can help acne and skin elasticity.

I don't recommend you to fill a bath full of beer and soak in it. Currently the US doesn't have any beer bathes available, but if your traveling abroad I would suggest you look into it. I know I will! I have found some other interesting recipes you can do at home!

"Easy to make Beer Mask"

1 Tbsp favorite beer
1 tsp. plain yogurt
1 tsp. olive oil
1 egg
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. almond extract

Mix all ingredients together. Wet face with warm water and apply mixture to face. Allow to dry for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Finish with cold water to close your pores. Enjoy!

"Beer Shampoo"

3/4 cup beer
1 cup Shampoo

Boil beer until reduced to 1/4 cup. Cool beer then mix with shampoo. Then use! This recipe can help repair damaged hair.

Hope you all enjoy!!!

Sources ~

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sweet Hop Pillow Dreams

Hops are the most effective used herb in sleep pillows. The female hop cones create lupulin under there bracts. Lupulin is a powdery substance that creates a mild narcotic sedative, which can induce relaxation and peacefulness during sleep.

To make them, you would use the dried hop flower, better known for flavoring beer . You want to be sure you have a sweet hop variety, like maybe the Fuggle or Golding.

Sweet Hop Mix*

4 cups hop bracts
2 Tbs. ground allspice
2 Tbs. dried orange peel
2 Tbs. lemon balm
2 Tbs. pinhead orris root mixed with a few drops of essential oils of allspice and neroli (orange blossom

Will fill a pillow 12-14 inches square or you can make many small filled socks. Anything you have laying around. To mild the smell of hops, if too potent add lime flowers, lemon verbena, rosemary, chamomile, lavender, rose, thyme or mint. You don't have to follow this recipe, be creative.. Think about the herbs that smell good to you and use them.

Note: Replace every 4-6 months. Stale hops release a horrible scent that may keep you awake. *

CAUTION: Two important things to keep in mind with hops! **
1. Should not be used with pregnant women because of estrogenic-like activity. **
2. Do Not use if on prescription sedatives and/or sleep medications unless instructed by physician. **

Sources -
* "Sweet dreams are made of this", Vegetarian Times, Sep 1995, Pg 83
** "Sweet Dreams herbs for sleep and relaxation", Better Nutrition, Oct 2000, Pg 62

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Welcome to Hop Heaven.

In this blog, I will continue to write new and exciting ways to use hops. In today's society, most people know hops to be used for beer as a flavoring, a bitterer and a preservative. I will inform the hop enthusiast of other alternatives, such as, feed and bedding for cattle, dyes, fiber plants, oils, and many more. Each recipe I post there will be a brief history of when and where it was commonly used. Hope you enjoy!!!

If any of my viewer's have any suggestions please email me at
Also, if you are looking to buy rhizomes to start your own hop garden, please check out our hop store...