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August 07, 2006

Hemp

I couldn't have a blog about food and sustainability without mentioning hemp, that much maligned and misunderstood plant (which has none of the narcotic effect of the marijuana plant). In fact, I had a nice helping of shelled hemp seeds with my yogurt and honey this morning. They've got a rich, buttery texture similar to pine nuts or cashews, and taste a bit like sunflower seeds (yum!). Hemp seeds are one of the healthiest things you can eat. Here are a list of some of the benefits of adding hemp seed and hemp oil to your diet (courtesy of Hemp Oil Canada):
-Excellent source of essential fatty acids including Omega 3, 6 and GLA
-Lower blood LDL cholesterol levels
-Lower blood pressure
-Improve cardiovascular circulation & function
-Improve immunity levels
-Reduce symptoms of PMS & menstrual cramps
-Reduce inflammation and the symptoms of arthritis
-Reduce & treat dry skin and hair conditions
-Reduction of many degenerative diseases through preventative measures
-Hemp products are GMO-Free, Gluten-free, Herbicide & Pesticide free

The Canadian government legalised hemp cultivation in 1998 (farmers must be licensed and use approved seeds, so I won't be growing it in my backyard plot anytime soon). This is actually the one crop that my Dh feels strongly enough about that he has seriously considered dropping everything and becoming a hemp farmer.
We've got a great store in town (www.hemptown.com) that sells hemp clothing and other products, and on any given day one of us is wearing something made with this amazing plant. Hemp fibre requires no pesticides and much less water to produce than cotton, and the fibres are a lot stronger. It could also replace trees for making paper products and has great potential as an alternative fuel (it can be grown almost anywhere and could supply regions with locally produced biodiesel). Check out the links below to learn more.
http://www.thehia.org/facts.html
http://www.artistictreasure.com/hemphistory.html


5 comments:

Phelan said...

I wish we could grow it here. I love hemp products.

Cheryl said...

Me too! My mother-in-law was just at the Eden Project in Cornwall, England and saw hemp growing there. She said they had beautiful fences made of woven hemp rope (each panel was woven in a different pattern) to demonstrate its usefulness and durability. It sounded really amazing.

Anna said...

i read that the reason hemp became so maligned was that the cotton growers created a campaign to connect hemp and marijuana so they could knock the competition out of the water. do you know if that's got any truth to it?

also, i just wanted to let you know that i included your recipe for blueberry banana bread on my weekly "recipe carousel" where i promote recipes from other bloggers. hope you don't mind.

Cheryl said...

Hi Anna,
Yes, I've read things like that too, (with DuPont and the forestry companies lumped in there). Here's another article that talks about that: http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0199/et0199s11.html
Considering that it can be used to make just about anything (including plastics and paint), it's not surprising that these companies saw it as a threat.

Thanks for including my recipe in your carousel!

Phelan said...

The Dupont one is the one I hear all the time.

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