hist-brewing: Gruit ingredients

Richard Richard at WowMe.com
Wed Oct 20 03:57:58 PDT 1999

Since both of the messages below are so similar, I will respond to them at
the same time.
Now, remember, I am certainly NO EXPERT on this matter, but I can point you
at the following references:

"Hopped Ale is quite different.  Contemporary scientific research has
conclusively demonstrated that hops contain large quantities of estrogenic
and soporific compounds.  In fact, hops have been used for many thousands of
years in traditional medical practice as natural estrogen replacement
therapy and to help insomniacs sleep.  the high level of plant estrogens in
hops makes hopped beers an extremely good drink for women in menopause but
also makes it a very bad drink for men.  Consumption by men of large levels
of estrogenic compounds can lead to erection problems later in life.  In
fact, there is a well known condition in England called Brewer's Droop,
regularly contracted by bartenders and brewers after years of exposure to
hopped beers and ales."

Reference: Stephen Harrod Buhner
The Fall of Gruit and the Rise of Brewers Droop
American Brewer  July/August 1999 Vol. 15 No. 4
Also published by
Ale Street News  Oct/Nov Vol. 8 No. 5

"Hops: Before mechanization, hop pickers who were exposed for many weeks to
the handling of fresh hops, experienced symptoms which we would recognize
today as having a hormonal basis. The women pickers developed menstrual
irregularities, and the men became impotent."

Reference: TRICKEY, R. (1994) "Alternative therapies for menopausal
problems" in BLACK, C. (ed.) Menopause: The Alternative Way. Facts and
Fallacies of the Menopause Industry. Australian Women's Research Centre,
Geelong, Victoria. pp. 62-80

The flowers are most known for their sleep-inducing
effect. This herb relaxes the smooth muscle, especially
of the digestive tract. The plant has an overall bitter-tonic
property, and it has antibacterial activity which helps to
reduce inflammation. Hops is helpful for upper digestive
tract infections which provoke gastric and duodenal ulcers.
It is used with other herbs to treat irritable bowel syndrome,
Crohn's disease and nervous stomach. This herb is estrogen
promoting and therefore, is used in skin creams and lotions
for its softening properties. Hops also tones the liver, and
has a mild diuretic effect to increase urine flow. Other
uses include: high fever and delirium, toothache, earache,
neuralgia, and pain."

Reference: Healthherbs.com.

"Historically Hops have been used as a sleeping aid. Pillows filled with
were used to sleep on. Hops was first used in England in the 16th century to
flavor beer.
Hops are still used in Europe as a remedy for sleeplessness."

Reference: WWW

These reference are convincing enough for me.  Basically, I don't want to
chance it and I don't want to drink something that will add to the general
fatigue that befalls one who ingests alcoholic beverages.  Especially at an
event I wish to enjoy.  I'm certainly not saying that these proofs are true,
only that they are enough to talk me out of using hops in my own brews.  I
am aware that other plants have high levels of phyto-estrogens, but the only
ones that seem to be high enough to make a fuss are hops, Echinacea and more
recently licorice which scientists say can lower the testosterone level by
up to 40% for 4 days or more!  I know that anise and licorice are either
related or the same plant by different names, so I have stopped drinking
Anisette, Sambuca and Ouzo for this reason.  Again, some may scoff at my
actions while others may agree.  It's a personal choice.

As long as we're all having fun,

----- Original Message -----
From: Ralph Barker <Squireale at zianet.com>
To: Richard <Richard at WowMe.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 12:27 PM
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Gruit ingredients

> As a homebrewer for MANY years, a ceritfied Beer Judge, Home Brew Store
> owner and all around brewing enthusiast,  I have a question... Where did
> you get this "strong evidence" to make this statement? I read just about
> every industry and trade/technical brewing journal that comes out, and
> not seen anything in the last 5 yrs that supports this? Or are you doing
> this "In persona" and "In period"? Not trying to jump on you or
> just curious :)
> Thanks
> Ralf Blackwood of Ravenstone

----- Original Message -----

From: <isenhour at uiuc.edu>
To: <Richard at WowMe.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 9:07 PM
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Gruit ingredients

> If you know of strong evidence that hops cause "droopiness of the
> manly works" I would really like see references to this.  There are a
> lot of flavinoid plant compounds with estrogenic properties (even
> some plastic cups release estrogenic compounds), but I have not been
> able to locate studies that show these act as ligands, and scientists
> that I have talked with think this rumor is a bit unlikely.
> thanks for any pointers...
> john

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