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HOPS (Humulus lupulus)


Alternate name: hop powder
Botany: Hops derive from the dried strobiles of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus.  This is a twinning perennial herb with male and female flowers on separate plants, which grows up to 8 m high.  It is native to Eurasia and North America, and is extensively cultivated world-wide.
History and/or folklore: Hops were used by the ancients as a tonic. Hops were introduced to England by the Dutch in the 16th century. The common name is said to originate in Old English hopen or hoppan, meaning "to climb". Its most well-known use is in beer brewing.
Product and Biochemistry: The hop contains β-sitosterol, estradiol, stigmasterol and oestrone. In addition, it contains many other materials that are known for their sedative and relaxing attributes.  The hop contains plant hormones, particularly when very fresh, and these are similar to oestrogens.
Humulus lupulus botanical extract
Hop extracts have been reported to have various biological activities, including antimicrobial activities, which are due to the bitter acids (especially lupulone and humulone), the more hydrophobic ones being the more active.


Antimicrobial; astringent; emollient; skin conditioning; soothing; and tonic 
Humulus lupulus botanical extract
Traditional use: It is antiseptic and healing. Some extracts are used as emollients in skin preparations (especially in Europe for their alleged skin-softening properties).


Skin irritant and allergen (allergenic activity in humans, causing contact dermatitis due to the pollen).
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel. 


HONEY (Mel, Sugar secretions collected in honeycomb by honey bees)


Product: Honey is extracted from bee hives as a thick, syrupy, transparent liquid, then strained through a sieve and allowed to sit in settling tanks for 24 hours to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface. Depending on the pastures visited by the bees, the colour of honey varies from amber to reddish brown to black.
Honey consists of dextrose and levulose, dextrin, wax, proteins, volatile oil, minerals, acids, vitamins B1, B2, and C, nicotinic acid and formic acid. 
History and/or folklore: Its use dates back to ancient times, with Egyptian medical texts (circa 2600 and 2200 BC) mentioning honey in at least 900 remedies.  Almost all early cultures hailed honey for its topical healing properties for sores, wounds and ulcers, as well as for its sweetening and nutritive qualities.  During wartime it was used on wounds as an antiseptic.  Sword cuts were treated and dressed with honey and cobwebs. It was used by the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese and even by the Germans as late as World War I.


In its undiluted form is a natural preservative and there are many learned papers citing honey as a viscous barrier to bacteria and infection.
Traditional use: Honey is good for skin care because it attracts and maintains moisture and acts as a moisturizer.  Honey was used to treat boils, wounds, ulcers and burns. Locally it makes an ointment for sores, wounds and ulcers. It reduces irritation and is good to apply to chapped hands. It affords relief for frostbite and will help to reduce swellings.
Honey is used as a fragrance ingredient and humectant (in skin conditioners), also a biological additive in shampoos, face, body, and hand creams and lotions; and paste masks (mudpacks).

Spores of Clostridium botulinum, responsible for infant botulism, are often contained in honey, which may germinate in adults without adverse effect, but may cause serious illness in infants.  In 1976, of 43 cases of infant botulism in California, 13 involved honey (C. botulinum found in 13% of 60 tested samples). It has been recommended that honey not be given to infants under 1 year old.