Researchers in Japan claim the cure to hay fever and other allergies might just come from a key ingredient in beer. Sapporo Breweries Ltd. and Sapporo Beverages Co. say they have proven that flavonol glycoside extracted from hops prevents histamine, an allergy-inducing substance. Sapporo believes the findings suggest a new beverage they are developing might be effective in mitigating hay fever symptoms.
Sapporo, one of Japan's major brewers, conducted a joint study with Dr. Tadao Enomoto at the Japanese Red Cross Society's medical center in Wakayama Prefecture. The brewer asked 20 people suffering from hay fever to drink water containing the hops flavonol on a daily basis. It claims the drink alleviated sneezing for 60 percent of test subjects and combated running noses for 55 percent.
The hops flavonol is removed from the hops by soaking pulverized hops in water. Sapporo has filed a patent application for its method to extract hops flavonol and its use in fighting hay fever. They expect to present the findings to the Palynological Society of Japan in October. The company hopes to start selling a new beverage in Japan containing the hops flavonol before next spring. Flavonols are a large group of metabolites produced by plants that are nutritionally beneficial.
Hay fever is caused by the pollen of trees, plants and weeds. According to Japan's Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, about 16 percent of the population suffers from hay fever. Sapporo plans to study the use of beer on curing other allergies.