Hemp is an incredible plant with interesting uses, as well as a fascinating history.
Did you know until the late 1800s, almost all of the paper in the United States was made from hemp? Even the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp. Henry Ford’s car model was made from hemp and wheat straw 1. As if the plant wasn’t versatile enough, hemp seeds were even used to treat nutritional deficiencies due to its nutritionally dense properties 2. Let’s start with how hemp is a powerhouse of nutrition.
How Nutritious is Hemp? 3
The hemp nut is high in tocopherols and tocotrienols (vitamin E). This means that hemp nuts are a great source of antioxidants, kill free radicals, may reduce the risks of cancer and help protect your cells from damage. Hemp nuts also have a perfect balance of omega 6 and omega 3. It is recommended that we should have an omega 6: omega 3 ratio of 4:1. Unfortunately, current Western diets have a ratio of 10:1. This imbalance increases risks of common illnesses like cardiovascular disease, arthritis and diabetes, just to name a few.
Hemp nut and oil offer an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 3:1, almost the same as the recommended ratio. There is no other vegetable oil out there that gives you this kind of balanced concentration of omega 6 and omega 3.
Another benefit is that the composition of hemp’s amino acid is easily used and digested by the human body.
How to Use Hemp in your Cooking
Hemp oil and hemp nuts are best used for cold or warm dishes. Hemp should not be used for frying.
Other Uses for Hemp:4
Hemp is not only used in plastic, cars, and supplements, but also used for clothing and paper.
For example, one acre of hemp can make as much fiber as 2-3 acres of cotton, plus more! Hemp’s fiber is also much stronger than cotton – making it a long lasting clothing material. Hemp is also able to grow in multiple climates, requires less water and no pesticides – making this plant environmentally-friendly and a reliable crop.
One acre of hemp can also make as much paper as 2-4 acres of trees. Production is not limited, hemp is able to make it all – even durable cardboard and tissues. Hemp paper is even able to last hundreds of years, as in our own Declaration of Independence.
So with all these benefits, why isn’t hemp more widely used? Hmm, I have my own ideas and I’d love to hear yours. Comment and share!