Hemp History & Facts
Hemp has had a long and storied history. In fact, most cultures around the world used hemp for all kinds of purposes.
Today, all parts of the hemp plant are harvested and commercially used – from its fiber, hurd and seed.
Hemp Fiber Facts
- The outer layer of the hemp stalk is used to make fiber.
- Hemp fiber can be used to make clothes, bags, ropes, canvas and cording; it can also be used for insulation, to manufacture auto-body parts, windows, boxes, and much more.
- The oldest artifact in human history is a piece of hemp fabric from 8000 B.C.
- Christopher Columbus’ fleets used hemp riggings and sails to navigate the ocean.
- Artists such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Gainsborough mainly painted on hemp canvas.
- The first Levi jeans were made from a hemp fabric known as duck.
- In 1941, Henry Ford manufactured a car from the resin of stiffened hemp fiber. The body of the car was constructed to absorb damage from metals 10 times as great as steel, without causing a dent.
- The fibers of hemp are one of the strongest natural fibers in the world.
Hemp Hurd Facts
- After using the outer portion of the hemp stalk to make fiber, the remaining hemp stalk and stem are used to make small chucks called hemp hurds.
- Hemp hurds can be used to make paper, fertilizers, animal bedding and when combined with hemp fibers, can make building materials.
- In 1215, the Magna Carta, the first document limiting the powers of the King of England, was drafted on hemp paper. Both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution was drafted on hemp paper.
- Hemp generates 4 times more hemp-pulp than trees do wood-pulp, to produce paper. In fact, hemp paper can be recycled an average of seven times, while wood-pulp paper is recycled an average of 3 times.
- Hemp hurds can be used to generate clean energy sources such as, gasoline, ethanol, methanol and methane gas. This fuel can be used for electricity or as gas for vehicles. In fact, if the U.S. cultivates hemp on 6% of its land, the crops can be used to provide energy for the whole country.
- In 1941, Henry Ford designed a car engine that ran on ethanol made from hemp.
Hemp Seed and Oil Facts
- Hemp is a rich natural source of omega-3, omega-6, protein and fiber.
- It can be used to fortify dairy products, breads and other foods, and hemp oil can also be used to brew beer.
- Hemp oils are also included in bath and body products as it supports healthy skin.
- In the Middle Ages, in countries such as Germany and Italy, hempseeds were boiled in a soup, or used as filling in pies and tortes.
- Environmental archeologists discovered hemp was grown in religious medieval hospitals across Scotland, inferring that hemp could have been used as a medicinal crop.
- In the 1400s, Christopher Columbus always carried a reserve stock of hempseeds on his expeditions in case of a shipwreck, to use as a food source and initiate hemp cultivation.
- In the 1990s, during mass starvation in Africa, charitable organizations such as the Red Cross used hempseeds to cook porridge for nourishment.
Hemp is generating a lot of buzz as consumers discover the wide range of health benefits offered by hempseeds, hemp oil, hemp protein, and most recently hemp extracts. Hemp has gained mainstream acceptance and is found in health food stores across North America.
- Hemp, Lifeline to the Future by Chris Conrad