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Hop Shoots Cultivation in India – Uses & Benefits

Hop Shoots Cultivation in India – Uses & Benefits

    Hop Shoots Cultivation in India – Uses & Benefits

24 Feb, 2024

Are you interested in knowing about the most expensive plant - Hop shoots cultivation in India? Then go through this blog for a detailed explanation.

About Hop Shoots Plant

hop shoots plant

Hop shoots also known as Hops or Humulus lupulus is a species of flowering plant in the hemp family Cannabaceae. It is a perennial climbing plant which is native to West Asia, Europe and North America. It grows in early spring and dies back to a cold-hardy rhizome in autumn. This plant has separate male and female plants. The female plant has cone-shaped flowers known as hops that are used to flavour beer.  These female flowers have petals that envelop the fruit. Hop shoot plant is mainly cultivated in the brewing industry.

Hop shoots are generally 10 metres (33 feet) tall and stay up to 20 years.  The fruit it bears is dry and does not split open at maturity. The hop dies back in winter and grows up in March when the ground is warmed up. The hop shoots at the earliest stage are dark purple in colour, but later turn green. These plants grow rapidly up to 6 inches a day when exposed to a good amount of moisture and sunshine. The hop shoots give a nutrient-rich vegetable before developing into the hopbine. Furthermore, The female plants develop a flower, called ‘burr’, from which the cones generate that can be harvested in early September.

Importance of hop shoots plant

Hop shoots are known for their unique qualities, benefits and tons of nutrient content in them. It has antibacterial and therapeutic properties. Hop shoots' fruit, blossom, and stem are used to manufacture beverages, such as beer, and antibiotics, as well as for other medicinal purposes. The plant's bloom, known as hop-cones or strobile, is used in beer manufacturing as a stability agent, balancing the sweetness of the beverage. 

The stalks of this plant have been discovered to have a significant effect on tuberculosis therapy (TB). Hop shoots have a critical part in cancer treatment. Certain hop acids, such as humulones and lupulones, prevent the emergence of leukemia. It is a condition that affects the bones.

The medicine improves digestion, promotes relaxation for patients suffering from depression or anxiety, acts as an analgesic, and treats sleeplessness.

The usage of hops shoot in European countries is widely popular for keeping the skin gleaming, natural, and young as the hoop shoot is rich in antioxidants. Hops shoots contain antioxidants, which assist in cleaning and shining the skin.

Why hop shoots are so expensive in India?

Hop shoot plant takes three years to fully mature before harvest. On the other hand, the plant cost huge labour costs and is considered a back-breaking crop. These tiny tiny green tendrils grow willy-nilly, and the farmers had to work to crouch and find them. Therefore, it consumes more time and thus labour cost is increased. Also, organic hop seed plantation requires more maintenance and care to prevent plants from getting damaged. Moreover, it also requires better and more suitable climatic conditions to grow and every climate is not suitable for plant cultivation which develops a scarcity of plant cultivation and thus hop shoots seeds price in India rise.

Furthermore, many studies have shown the medicinal, pharmaceutical, nutritional and health benefits of hop shoot. This increases the demand and thereby also increases the hop shoots price in India. Each part of the plant whether the flower, fruit or stem - is useful in many different ways. Such as:

The bitter-tasting flowers (hops) make a good stability agent for balancing the sweetness in the beer. 

The stalks of the hop shoot plant are used to treat tuberculosis (TB).

The hop shoot plant Climbers are rich in antioxidants, thus, people in Europe use it as an herb to protect their skin from cold and is mainly used in making antibiotics.

The hop acids - humulones and lupulones produced from the hop plant are used in cancer treatment of leukaemia and resist bone damage. It is used to cure anxiety, depression and insomnia and acts as a relaxing agent.

Thus, a plant with tons of benefits and uses can incredibly increase the price.

8 Things to consider before growing hop shoots plant

things to consider before growing hop shoots plant

1. Cultivation

Hop shoots grow well at latitudes ranging from 30  to 50 degrees north and south of the equator. Plus,  Cold winter temperatures are needed to prepare the plant for spring re-growth. Moreover, Hop shoot plants require specific climatic conditions for better development, production, and cone quality. It requires a cold climate during dormancy, moderate temperatures in spring, moisture for the growing season, and dry weather conditions for harvest. Furthermore, The amount and timing of rainfall affect the growth of the plant and production as well.

2. Soil

Hop shoots can grow in different soil types like sandy, clay, etc. These are deep-rooted plants, however, the majority of the feeder roots are found in the upper section of the topsoil. Hop shoots require a continuous supply of water throughout the growth season. A deep, light-textured soil, which is free of waterlogging is best for the cultivation of Hop shoot plants. Moreover, the maintenance of soil PH is necessary as it affects the nutrient availability in plants. A pH level of 6-7 is optimum for the growth. This PH supports increased K availability, absorption, and accumulation in plant leaf tissue, as well as increased photosynthetic capability and production of the hop shoot plant.

3. Propagation

The propagation takes place through asexual or vegetative methods. The vegetative methods of production have stem/ leaf cuttings and Rhizomes. Dormant rhizomes from the mature crown in the cooler months or green cuttings from current season growth in spring generate the majority of new plants. Rhizomes are underground shoots, which are trimmed from the crown, split into pieces, and planted directly in the hop yard, or grown in pots. This can even grow under protected conditions like Greenhouses, etc. Moreover, green stem cuttings obtained in the spring and early summer prove to be the best technique to propagate a large number of new plants during the growing season.

4. Planting

Hop shoots are planted in the spring when the plot can be worked and the risk of frost diminishes. These can be propagated with the help of rhizomes, which are available to get from March to May. Rhizomes must be stored in a cool, moist place till the time of plantation. Moreover, The spacing between rows is decided by the size of the equipment used for tilling, mowing, and harvesting. Hop shoot cultivators use trellising systems for commercial agriculture. 

5. Irrigation

Hop shoots are a high-value crop and the supply of enough water affects both productivity and quality. It requires a continuous supply of water throughout the growth season.  Moreover, the amount of supplemental irrigation required is affected by several factors like climate, soil characteristics and plant-specific attributes. Lack of moisture in plants results in plant stress and affect production with lower yields and even death of the plant. Symptoms of water stress are reduced plant vigour, halted growth, drying of leaves, etc. Drip irrigation works best in these plants as the plant has a shallow root system. Overhead and furrow systems are also utilized practised to irrigate large plantations.

6. Fertilization

Hop shoots do not grow in acidic soils. Hence, liming should be done as per requirements to keep the pH above 6.5. For better results, the nitrogen is applied by mid-June. Potassium is mainly used by hop cones and also promotes the development of leaves and vines. On the other hand,  phosphorus (P) is less required compared to N and K. 

7. Harvesting

Fresh hop shoots are used as vegetables which are taken from pants in the spring. Hop plants expand and they transmit runners underground and shoots cover the entire region of the hop yard if timely cutting is not done. Some hop shoots remain white due to sun exposure. Hop plants generate new shoots after all of the early spring shoots have been removed. Later, the shoots grow greener and have more and bigger leaves. Moreover, the tender tips of the shoots are harvested and consumed as a salad or used for other dishes.

8. Insect and Pest Management

Mildew inoculums and spider mites are the most persistent diseases and pests that may seriously affect and damage hop shoot output. Major insect pests in the hop yards include Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, aphids and spider mites. The plant shows Stippling, or pin-prick-sized brown patches on leaves when damaged. Furthermore, the damson-hop aphid grows during cold climates, and damp growing seasons and feeds on the phloem of the hop plants. Different Integrated pest management methods will benefit in reducing the pest populations considerably in the Hopyards.

Different uses of hop shoots plants

different uses of hop shoot plants

Most commonly hops are best recognized as the component of beer. They were initially used as a medicinal herb. Each part of the plant includes bioactive chemicals such as flavonoids and bitter acids. These acids have antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties. Hops shoots are used in the following ways:

In medicine

Hops shoots are known for their medicinal use for over 2000 years. In ancient times, physicians used hops shoots to treat leprosy, foot odour, constipation, and blood cleansing. It also acts as a sedative in various drugs that helps in relieving mental stress and insomnia. The other beneficial medicinal property of hops is their estrogenic activity 

As a vegetable

Hop shoots are consumed as a vegetable in Europe. The antioxidant property of the hop shoot keeps the skin glowing and young. Moreover,  asparagus, that is young hop shoots are harvested during spring which is a traditional use of the plant. The leaves of the Hop shoots are often used as salads along with the shoots. The tender shoots are easy to sautee in a little olive oil or butter, which is worth eating. The use of the young shoots as vegetables can be a source of income for Hop growers. Currently,  hop shoots are the most expensive vegetables in the market.

As a fibre

After the cones are harvested, the hop stems are left in the field as waste. These stems are by-products and thus have limited applications. Moreover, the Hop shoot stems have an exterior bark and an inner pith. Long-length fibres (10–15 cm) are developed from the fibrous outer bark of the stem. Hence, The resulting fibres have good cellulose content, a low crystallinity, and high cellulose crystal alignment to the fibre axis. This makes the fibre suitable for use in the textile industry. 

Production and Marketing of hop shoots

Presently, hop shoots are grown and cultivated in almost 15 countries of the world with the USA being the largest producer of the hop shoot crop.
During the period (2020-2025), the global hop shoots market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5 per cent. changes in demand and production of hop shoots will affect the hops market. Moreover, the young hop shoots sold as a vegetable can get a high price if proper marketing channels are provided.

Important points to be considered while growing the organic hop shoots.

1. If the pH that is potent of hydrogen in the soil is incorrect, it must be corrected with proper actions and ways.

2. Drip irrigation and poor water quality.

3. Understanding the importance and fertility of the soil.

4. Removing the underground bacterial growth which stops the growth of the plant and degrades the fertility of the soil.

5. Selection of the right fertilizer.​

6. Weed control issues

7. Proper site selection

8. Adequate knowledge of pests and their controls

9. Timing and depth of crowning, and bine mowing before training.

10. Mulches and compost application.

Health Benefits Of Eating Hop Shoots 

benefits of hop shoots

- Hops shoots have hypnotic properties and thus Consumption of hops hoots is said to relieve problems of insomnia in a person.

- Hops is one of an antibiotic, which prevents infections. Its crushed flowers can cure cuts and wounds when applied.

- Hop shoots have sedative properties and work as a relaxing agent and reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

- These plants have anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, it benefits persons suffering from arthritis.

- Lupulon and Humulon are the two kinds of hop acids present in the herb, which benefits various health issues in a person.

- Hop shoots also help in the treatment of dandruff. The hop extracts are rubbed into the scalp to cure this problem.

- Hop shoots even help in relaxing the muscles in the digestive tract.

- Hop shoots are beneficial for people suffering from anxiety, hyperactivity, nervousness, body pain, restlessness, sexually transmitted disease, depression, toothaches and ulcers.

- The intake of hop shoots also helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

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Recently Asked Question about Hop Shoots Cultivation in India – Uses & Benefits

What are hop shoots?

Hops shoots are the edible shoots of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus. They are a type of vegetable that is known for their unique flavor and aroma.

Why hops shoots are so expensive?

Hops shoots are expensive because they are a niche crop that is difficult to cultivate.

What are the uses of hop shoots?

Hop shoots have various uses, including flavoring beer, manufacturing antibiotics, and medicinal purposes.

What are the health benefits of hop shoots?

Hop shoots have medicinal properties such as antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant effects. They can aid in tuberculosis therapy, cancer treatment, anxiety relief, and improving digestion.

What factors should be considered before growing hop shoots?

Before growing hop shoots, consider the suitable climatic conditions, soil pH, propagation methods , irrigation requirements, fertilization, proper planting and pest management strategies.

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