Herb: Native Hops

Latin name: Dodonaea viscosa

Synonyms: Dodonaea attenuata, Dodonea viscosa

Family: Sapindaceae

Medicinal use of Native Hops:

The leaves are anodyne, astringent, diaphoretic, febrifuge (the var. angustissima is normally used), odontalgic and vulnerary. They are applied internally in the treatment of fevers. Externally, they are used to treat toothache, sore throats, wounds, skin rashes and stings. The leaves are apparently effective in the treatment of toothache if they are chewed without swallowing the juice. The bark is employed in astringent baths and poultices.

Description of the plant:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Rocky, stony or sandy soils in the montane zone of Victoria.

Edible parts of Native Hops:

Seed. No further details are given. The bitter fruits are a substitute for hops and yeast in making beer. The chewed leaves are said to be stimulating but they contain saponins and are also said to be slightly cyanogenic so their use is not very advisable.

Other uses of the herb:

The leaves contain up to 18% tannin. Plants are very tolerant of pruning and make a good hedging plant for windy sites. Wood - heavy, tough, resistant. Used for wedges, hammers, turnery, inlay, cabinets etc.

Propagation of Native Hops:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. The seed is slow to germinate according to one report, but it germinated in 3 weeks in a cold greenhouse with us. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a fairly sunny part of the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying them outdoors, then plant them out in early summer of their second or third year's growth after the last expected frosts and give them some protection from the cold for their next winter or two. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rocky, stony or sandy soils in the montane zone of Victoria.

Known hazards of Dodonaea viscosa:

The leaves are slightly cyanogenic. They are also said to contain saponins. Although quite toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problems. Saponins can be found in a number of common foods such as some types of beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.