Are there any common medicinal uses for beer? I'm thinking along the lines of how liquor can be used as an antiseptic and less of how red wine can improve your heart health.
Just like wine, absolutely! I'm not a doctor and I am not giving medical advice; I am not liable whatsoever for your drunken antics.
With that said, in addition to kidney benefits:
- Beer contains high amounts of silicon, which makes bones stronger
- In moderation, it has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular problems. However, when abused, cardiovascular problems spike instead. It helps to raise levels of "good cholesterol" which helps to keep arteries free of blockages.
- It may help out your brain, keeping Alzheimer's disease at bay.
- It is high in antioxidants and helps reduce your risk of cancer.
- It is high in B vitamins, namely B6 and B12
- Moderate amounts of any alcohol, beer included, may help decrease your risk of stroke by reducing the chance of blood clotting in the cardiovascular system.
- I highly doubt this one, but apparently, studies have shown a reduced risk of diabetes among men who drink occasionally.
- Studies have shown that it has been linked to lower blood pressure.
- It contain fiber! Beta-glucans in particular, which are a soluble type of fiber.
- Like sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, yogurt, miso, and kombucha, beer is a fermented food, so many of the benefits of fermented foods such as aiding in digestion may apply to beer as well.
Beer apparently not only lowers the risk of kidney stones, but also helps dissolve and pass existing kidney stones (additionally by dilating the ureters—the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder).
Beer consumption was inversely associated with risk of kidney stones; each bottle of beer consumed per day was estimated to reduce risk by 40% [...]
There are a number of uses I have heard of people using beer for. I will add a personal experience below as well.
I have heard of people washing their hair with it, believing it helps promote healthy hair and scalp.
Heavy, high starch beers, have long been used as a food source for fasting monks, sort of a liquid bread.
Beer is commonly used for cooking certain things because the alcohol (as with wine) helps bring out certain flavors.
Additionally I want to mention something I use it for. This works for me because of very specific reasons and I am not recommending that anyone else try it. However, I get asthma frequently following upper respiratory illnesses (I have since I was a teenager). I have a couple of alternative medical strategies for dealing with this depending on what is available. Note, if you have asthma, don't take medical advice from me: asthma can be life threatening. Work with a doctor. However, among other things, I find that drinking a number of drinks of beer or wine for two nights in a row will cause the asthma to clear up until I get sick again. This naturally works best when I am not otherwise consuming alcohol, but it allows me to be mostly medication free regarding my asthma (doing this two to three times a year). Again this has a bunch of risks, so I am mentioning it just for informational purposes. In general anything medical deserves a great deal of respect because what can cure can kill.
Also some kinds of traditional beer have very specific health benefits. In Indonesia, "tape hitam" (black rice beer, consumed with the lees as a sort of soup) is generally understood to reduce blood cholesterol. As it turns out the helper cultures used are extremely close (and sometimes the same) as those which produce lovostatin. In fact lovostatin was originally found in Chinese fermented rice products.
Not to be snarky, but there are as many uses for beer as there are people who use it. I'm here because I use it, specifically high-hop/low alcohol (IPAs) as an alternate for sleep medication, since I don't want to be taking the same ones all the time. (And though it's impossible to separate the sleep benefits, I think it helps with anxiety, not just at consumption time, too).
Beer, particularly the hoppy stuff, is known to raise blood estrogen levels. http://goo.gl/qctfH3. Frankly, though I'm no expert by any stretch, I'd say a (that's one) bitter IPA at bedtime is the perfect prescription for menopausal insomniacs.
There's so much to read about beer and hormones. To each his (her) well-read own.