Hemp is an amazing plant whose benefits are multiple. Ecological and economical, the cultivation of hemp has a thousand possibilities. Food, cosmetics, health, materials manufacturing discover hemp in all its forms.
Many associate hemp to cannabis. A misunderstanding that it is completely harming a legal crop that has a low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of marijuana. Offering a variety of uses, hemp is a plant with unknown benefits. Its edible seeds in its fibers which are components of many materials, almost all hemp items have a utility.
Hemp was very cultivated in the nineteenth century. Hemp had almost totally disappeared from the European agricultural landscape in the 60s. Ecological and multi-purpose, this ancient plant is slowly regaining common interest. Since 2000, France has between 9,000 and 14,000 hectares dedicated to culture, against 5000 for the rest of Europe.
Hemp provides a clean and profitable crop
For a long time hemp was neglected. The cultivation of hemp again attracted farmers because of its numerous environmental advantages. Indeed, hemp is a plant particularly resistant and prone to disease whose rapid growth is requesting little energy. Easily cultivable without GMOs or pesticides, hemp offers an advantageous growing ecological point of view, especially as it requires very little care and virtually no irrigation. With a life cycle of four to five months hemp allows rapid culture and, indeed, an attractive return.
But this is not the only advantage of the cultivation of hemp. It is ideal to prepare the land to accommodate other plantations. Up to 5 meters high, the plant smothers weeds, leaving the floor clean. Moreover, its branched roots evolving allow deep soft ground, so easy to work for the farmer.
The seeds and oil are excellent for arteries
Consumed as seeds or oil, hemp has many nutritional benefits. Its seeds, also called hemp, are a source of protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber, but most have a balanced content of Omega 3 and 6. However, most oils, too rich in Omega 6, are likely to encourage cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. The balance of these fatty acids in the oil and hemp seeds instead is ideal for healthy arteries and lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. Hemp oil, besides being rich in nutrients, is among the oils with the lowest saturated fat.
Health benefits of hemp oil
The outcome of hemp oil contains compounds of interest to health in particular linoleic fatty acids (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).
Long banned because of the cannabis produced by nearby varieties, hemp is back, not only as a source of fiber for textiles, but also for the oil from its seeds. A new Spanish study published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry details the beneficial compounds for health that can be found in this oil.
For thousands of years, hemp was grown in different regions of the world for textiles, medicines and food. Hemp contains high levels of vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene. It is also rich in proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and fiber. In the early 20th century, different countries have banned the cultivation of the plant Cannabis sativa because of cannabis strains that contained large amounts of psychotropic THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). But since the European Union authorized the cultivation of hemp varieties with low levels of THC, it is back.
Researchers from Seville University therefore analyzed in detail hemp oil, whether it could be beneficial to the health. They found that hemp contains different valuable substances. Thus, among the hemp oil lipids are different fatty acids: linoleic acid (55%), α-linolenic acid (16%) and oleic acid (11%). The hemp oil is therefore highly polyunsaturated with omega-6 on omega-3 favorable ratio (less than 4). Hemp oil also contains sterols (beta-sitosterol and campesterol), alcohols (phytol and cycloartenol) and gamma-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E).
The α-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid, which, according to some studies, would prevent coronary heart disease. Some vegetable oils, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, would be also favorable to control blood sugar1.
Oil is ideal for moisturizing and repairing skin
In addition to its food use, hemp oil does wonders in cosmetics due to its moisturizing properties, making hemp oil a valuable ally against dryness of the skin. In 2005 researchers had examined the effectiveness of hemp oil in the treatment of eczema, showing promising results. Thus, it can be used to naturally treat herpes, psoriasis or cold sores. In cosmetics, hemp oil remains unknown despite its nourishing, firming and regenerating. It is therefore ideal anti-aging treatment, to boost microcirculation or to fight against mild redness.
Hemp oil is used to treat burns
Hemp oil also proves effective to soothe the warm sensation linked to sunburn or minor burns. Thus, the doctors of the Limoges University Hospital became interested in its protective properties, using hemp oil against burns associated with radiation therapy. Among men, hemp oil is used after shaving to soothe irritations.
Hemp is a multipurpose material
Hemp stem consists of extremely strong fibers which are used in particular to make paper, cloth or building materials. The use of hemp fiber is not new. Already 8000 years BC, the Chinese used the stems for making textiles or paper. In France, from Charlemagne, hemp is praised particularly for the manufacture of linen, ropes and sails of boats. Today it is a component of plastic parts to reduce the use of fossil fuels. The stems are also converted into insulation materials, hemp wool or concrete, a mixing rod and lime.
At any point of view, hemp seems to be a miracle plant that deserves to be better known and used. Produced in France, where it improves soil quality, hemp has its place in the kitchen and in the bathroom as well as in the walls of the house.
Hemp milk is provided with multiple health benefits. Rich in vegetable protein, it brings itself many vitamins, minerals, omega 3, iron, calcium, magnesium, etc. A cup can provide almost all of the recommended daily intakes. Its essential amino acids confer many virtues, including for drugs. It could be a good anti-inflammatory, protect against heart disease and even some cancers. Moreover, drinking hemp milk ensures a beautiful skin, beautiful hair and nails or a boost of intellectual abilities.
Better than cow’s milk?
If there is a good substitute for those who do not like or cannot tolerate cow’s milk, hemp milk is still significantly lower in protein: a glass contains 3 grams against 8 grams for a glass of cow’s milk. Hemp milk is also rich in sugar, which could impede those who would ensure their sugar intake. Note that hemp seeds do not contain enough THC to have any psychotropic effect.
How to make homemade hemp milk?
For a bottle of 1 litre
- 1 litre of water
- 80 g of whole hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- Soak the hemp seeds in water for 7-8 hours.
- Discard the soaking water and rinse hemp with cold water.
- Mix the seeds with 1 litre of water and agave syrup.
- Filter using a nut milk bag or a tight-weave cloth.
- Put the hemp milk in a bottle.
You can keep the hemp milk in the fridge for 4 days maximum.
- S. Montserrat-de la Paz, F. Marín-Aguilar, M. D. García-Giménez, and M. A. Fernández-Arche. Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Seed Oil: Analytical and Phytochemical Characterization of the Unsaponifiable Fraction. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2014, 62 (5), pp 1105–1110. DOI: 10.1021/jf404278q