The inflorescence of hops contains flavonoids, resins, polyphenols, polysaccharides and other chemical components, which make it have antibacterial, anti-tumor, anti-oxidant, hypoglycemic, blood pressure, and estrogen-like pharmacological effects.
1. Know the chemical composition of hops
Resin compounds are the main components in hops and have a wide range of biological activities. The European Brewing Association (EBC) divides the resin components into soft resins and hard resins according to the differences in solubility of different organic solvents. Among them, α-acid and β-acid are the most representative soft resin components in hops, and are also the main source of the unique taste of hops. The α-acid mainly includes humulone (Figure 1A) and its homologs, and the β-acid mainly includes lupulone (Figure 1B) and its homologs. In hops, the content of β-acid is lower than that of α-acid, and it is easily oxidized to form β-soft resin. Alpha-acids are easily converted into iso-α-acids under certain conditions, and such components are the main bitter components in beer.
Flavonoids represented by xanthohumol (Figure 2) are important chemical components in hops. According to the structure of the core, it can be divided into flavonoids, chalcones and flavans. Xanthohumol is a prenyl flavonoid unique to hops. It was first isolated and identified by Power et al. It was mainly concentrated in the hop glands. It is currently attracting attention due to its extensive pharmacological activities.
* Volatile oils
The volatile oil components in hops are secreted by the hop glands of hops, which are the source of hop flavor. The volatile oil of hops mainly contains caryophyllene, myrcene, humulene, farnesene, etc. and its lipid, ketone, and alcohol compounds. Early studies generally believed that terpenes played a key role in the flavor of hops, but recent studies have shown that terpene alcohols with stronger hydrophilicity contribute more prominently to the flavor of hops.
2. Anti-osteoporosis effect
Osteoporosis is a systemic bone metabolism disease characterized by decreased bone mass and bone microstructure destruction. In Europe, hop extract is used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis. In recent years, the role of hops in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis has received wide attention. It may maintain bone homeostasis by exerting estrogen-like effects, alleviating oxidative damage, and regulating the balance of bone formation and bone resorption to prevent and treat osteoporosis.
* Estrogen-like effects
* Relieve oxidative damage
* Maintain bone homeostasis
3. Related products and applications
Beer brewing is the most traditional application of hops. Xanthohumol and related prenyl flavonoids in the human body are mainly ingested by drinking beer. In recent years, as a characteristic Chinese medicine, hops have received more and more attention for its dual-purpose properties. Related health products, such as American Citra, Czech Saaz hop pellets, Australian Nature's Way hop capsules, and Finnish Menomax hop concentrate tablets, are endless. Modern research has found that some hop-related products have good anti-osteoporosis activities. There is direct evidence that drinking beer can prevent osteoporosis. After humans drank xanthohumol beverage continuously for 14 days, the oxidative purine content in the body was significantly reduced, the degree of oxidative damage was alleviated, and the serum estrogen and osteocalcin levels were relatively decreased, and bone metabolism disorders were significantly improved.