Long before they came to be used as beer seasoning, hops were common as a medicinal plant. Findings of hop residues in settlements date back to the New Stone Age. A relationship to beer brewing has not been established. Utilisation as a medicinal plant is thus highly probable.

For many centuries, hops were collected in the wild and used as a medicinal herb. As of around the 9th century, cultivation of hops and utilisation in beer brewing began. However, hops served in the main as a preservative. Knowledge from folk medicine found its way into beer brewing. This knowledge was then refined and supplemented in the monasteries of medieval times. In her book “Physica” (“Book of Simple Medicine”) from the mid-12th century, Hildegard of Bingen provided proof of this. She wrote that hops keep away “certain putrefactions” from beverages.

In the Bavarian “Reinheitsgebot” (Purity Law) for beer passed in 1516, hops were officially confirmed as the sole beer seasoning. This law is still applicable up to the present day.