Throughout much of history, hemp has been a benefit to many different industries. In early United States history there was even a mandate that required farmers to grow hemp as a main crop. Additionally, the Latin name for hemp means “the useful plant.”
From building materials to clothing, hemp has proven to be just that: useful. That is not even including its numerous health benefits. Its versatility spans centuries, and it has been regarded as a staple in many civilizations.
A Brief History
Starting in 8,000 BCE, hemp was used in Taiwan and in China. Farmers would grow hemp so that it could be used in making cords for pottery, in addition to the seeds and oil being used in food.
In 2,000 BCE, hemp was known in India as one of the five sacred plants. As the use of hemp spread across the globe, it could also be found in Russia, Germany, Greece, and throughout much of Europe. It was a staple then much like cotton is today.
In 1616, hemp can be found in Jamestown in the first English settlement. It was used for creating sails, clothes, and making ropes. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was written on a high-quality hemp paper. Even as late as 1916 studies found that hemp produced four times more paper when compared to the paper produced by that of trees.
Different Uses for Hemp
Used throughout much of history, hemp is a great option for making paper. In fact, it is a better source than wood/trees/oak because it will not break down or yellow over time, and is more sustainably grown. Hemp returns approximately 60% of its nutrients it takes from the soil, and only requires about one-fourth of the water input that cotton does.
Another use of hemp is for various types of fabrics. It can be used in rope making, textiles, and fabrics for clothing. While it is extremely similar to cotton, it is actually far more durable. Called a “bast fiber,” it is harvested from the stem of the plant, similar to other interior design staple, jute.
Since it is naturally a neutral beige color, it is becoming more and more popular as fabric for both indoor and outdoor couches, chairs, and cushions paired with a natural wood look. Because of its durability, it is excellent at fighting stains and not pilling or fading.
The oils from hemp have been used for an array of products. Hemp is extremely rich in nutrients, and many lotions and skincare products use hemp as a primary ingredient. This is a much healthier option for body care products than those with harsh chemicals.
Hemp seeds were used in food throughout history. The hemp oil is extremely high in nutrition and is a great source of minerals and proteins. As people start to rediscover the many benefits that hemp provides, it is popping up in food products more frequently
Some other uses of hemp include building materials, an alternative to plastics, and even fuel. This plant is incredibly versatile and has been able to be an asset to many different industries.
Hemp is a highly renewable resource that grows quickly and is resistant to many diseases that other plants face. In addition, it can also be grown domestically while helping to nourish the soil it uses.
From food to fabric to building materials, hemp has been a major building block for civilizations. While over the past few years it has started to regain traction, many stigmas are still associated with it. Most of these stigmas are based in historic events that are centered around politics.
For now, we can focus on learning more about the benefits and the truths surrounding hemp to help dispel the myths surrounding it.