Lupulin, in a word is the reason for hops.
This photo, taken in midwinter displays the fortitude with which the sticky substance adheres to the dry and decaying skeleton of last season’s vine.
Lupulin exudes from the strobile (that little pinecone looking apparatus) on the hops plant. Intensely fragrant, and easily rubbed off onto you. During harvest I am completely perfumed by it. In a good way. This is where the “medicinal” and useful traits of the plant reside. Hops is a mild sedative, and has long been used in calming teas (it is related to marijuana). The tea works (I enjoy it though it is pretty bitter), and works far better than chamomile. Most of us are aware of its benefits in beer, especially with the recent popularity of ipa’s. This is where all those bitter, fruity, and aromatics come from. Hops imparts antimicrobe activity in brews, as well as helping to clarify it and, of course, add to its unique flavor.