Sensitive individuals may experience allergy symptoms when exposed to hops.
Hop Allergy Information
It comes from the same family as hemp, and was originally cultivated in Eurasia. Hop plants grow up to 6 metres in height and are perennial climbing plants. As a plant, hops are either the dried flower heads or a bitter, aromatic extract from their dried fruit that resembles pine cones.
Besides North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia, they can now be found all over the world today. The production of beer uses approximately 98% of the hops produced throughout the world.
Hops were traditionally used as a preservative in beer breweries before pasteurization, however they have now become an important part of beer’s flavour profile and are being retained as such.
Aside from their medicinal uses, they are also used for treating sleep disorders.
It is a common practice in some countries to eat the young shoots, heads, leaves and roots of the plant.
In addition to flavouring non-alcoholic beverages, frozen dairy desserts, candy, baked goods, puddings, and tobacco, the oil from the plant is also used in extracts and oil.
Gamma-linolenic acid is found in the seeds, a fatty acid with many important functions in the body that has very little presence in plants.
Test for Hop Allergies: Description of allergens
It is not yet clear whether hops can be used as an allergen source as they have not yet been identified.
Hop Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
There is a high probability of cross-reactivity between the different members of the family, including hemp plants (cannabis) and Japanese hop plants, as well as among different members of the family. Nonetheless, further investigation will be needed to determine whether the components might react with each other in the future.
Clinical Experience with Hop Allergy Tests
Individuals who are not occupationally sensitized may occasionally experience symptoms of food allergy from hops. There is a common association between occupational allergy and hops exposure.
There has been a report of a patient who presented four times with systemic urticaria associated with arthralgia and fever; allergy to hops was determined through investigation.
There is also an uncommon link between hops and occupational asthma and anaphylaxis.
It has been documented that skin contact with the plant can cause dermatitis and systemic and contact urticaria in susceptible individuals. The condition known as hops dermatitis has been recognized for a long time. There are rough hairs on the stem and secretions of yellow glandular hairs that cause this mechanical dermatitis.
Hops were found to be the most common cause of work-related skin symptoms among 14 Polish farmers, followed by grain (5.6%), hay (5.5%), and straw (4.1%).
Individuals with “idiopathic” anaphylaxis, however, should consider Hops as a candidate for treatment.
It has been documented that occupational airborne dermatitis and hand dermatitis can develop when exposed to hops. A patient was suffering from erythema, edema, and conjunctivitis of the face, neck, and upper chest, as well as acute hand dermatitis. It was either fresh hops or dried hops that precipitated the symptoms.
There have been reports of occupational allergies to hops. An experienced hop selector for a brewery developed urticaria, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and asthma after 6 months of work.
The leaves of hop plants contain lupin and rutin. Sulfur dioxide is sometimes applied to hops to improve their colour and prevent their active ingredients from changing.