What is Hemp and where did it come from?
Hemp is a cannabis plant species (Cannabis sativa) and has provided humans with fibre, edible seeds, oils, and medicines for thousands of years, with a history stretching back as far as 4000BC.
It is one of the strongest most durable natural fibres known to mankind and can be used to produce innumerable products including paper, plastics, cosmetics, clothing, food, fuel, wood products and medicine.
Throughout history, hemp fibres have been used for paper, many people may be surprised to find that they already own literature printed on hemp paper. Family heirlooms, such as Bibles would most likely be made from hemp, as between 75 to 90 percent of all paper in the world was made from hemp fibre until 1883.
Until the 20th century, 80 percent of all the world’s textiles and fabrics, including the finest quality linen were made from hemp. Hemp is softer, warmer, more water absorbent, three times stronger and more durable than cotton. Even Levi’s jeans were originally made from hemp cloth and soldiers uniforms during that great wars.
Due to the Omega fatty acids present within Hemp, which are building blocks for healthy cell membranes, it has been used in natural skin care products for centuries, Hemp seed oil soothes and nourishes sensitive skin as well as being a natural emollient and moisturiser for dry, tired and dehydrated skin and hair.
Hemp has been praised for its medicinal properties throughout history and even today, countless studies are being conducted to test the claims of this ‘wonder plant’.
Hemp in Australia
Hemp products have been available for sale in Australia under the strict clause that they are not produced for human consumption. However, as of 12th November 2017, the Food Standards Code has been amended to permit the sale of low THC hemp seed foods.
Consumable Hemp products have been available in other countries, including Europe, Canada, and the United States of America for years.
Hemp is different to other varieties of Cannabis sativa which are commonly referred to as marijuana, as it contains no or very low levels of THC (delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the cannabinoid associated with the psychoactive properties of marijuana.
Hemp seeds contain protein, vitamins, minerals, and a naturally balanced ratio of essential Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. Hemp also contains GLA (gamma – linolenic acid) that is absent from the fats we usually eat.
Hemp seed oil has been dubbed, ‘Nature’s most perfectly balanced oil’ due to the fact that it contains the perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of the required essential fatty acids (EFAs) for long-term human consumption.
What are Omega fatty acids?
Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids are all important dietary fats and crucial parts of human cell membranes. However, as with most things in life, it is important to get the right balance of Omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids in your diet.
Let’s face it, the numbers are confusing. But which fatty acid is best for a healthy body? And what’s the difference between them?
In a nutshell, the difference between one fatty acid and another comes down to tiny molecules. Slight differences in molecular configuration allow each of these fatty acids to work wonders in their own unique ways, which is why it’s best not to think about one being better than another — instead, let’s go into more detail why a good balance of all three is so favourable to your health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, a type of fat your body can’t make which is why they are referred to as ‘essential’.
The term ‘polyunsaturated’ refers to their chemical structure, as ‘poly’ means many and ‘unsaturated’ refers to double bonds. Together they mean that Omega-3 fatty acids have many double bonds.
Because Omega-3 fatty acids are so critical to neurological development, it is theorized that supplementation may aid in the treatment of neurological disorders as well as promote healthy brain development in babies and slow the decline of brain function in old age. Taking Omega-3s may also reduce symptoms of depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. It can also reduce the risk of psychotic disorders for those who are at risk.
In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3 fatty acids may lead to improvements in some inflammatory conditions. They have shown to increase ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and reduce triglycerides, and the formation of arterial plaques as well as decreasing the amount of fat in the liver.
Like Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The only difference is that the last double bond is six carbons from the Omega end of the fatty acid molecule. Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential, so you need to obtain them from your diet. These fats’ are primarily used for energy.
Omega-6 fatty acids, also play a crucial role in brain function, and normal growth and development. Omega-6s have shown to help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system.
Omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated, meaning they only have one double bond.
It is located nine carbons from the Omega end of the fatty acid molecule.
Omega-9 fatty acids aren’t strictly “essential,” meaning they can be produced by the body. In fact, Omega-9 fats are the most abundant fats in most cells in the body.
However, consuming foods rich in Omega-9 fatty acids instead of other types of fat may have a number of beneficial health effects similar to the benefits of Omega 3’s and 6’s.
For a long-term healthy diet, Hemp Seeds and Oil are superior to other sources of Omegas because:
– Contain more Omega 3 and 6 than other sources.
– Provide GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid) which isn’t found in Fish, Flax, Soy, Chia or Sacha Inchi.
– Are more sustainable and obtainable than other sources.
– Easier to consume and taste good.
– Easily satisfy dietary Omega oil needs without the risk of causing the deficiency. For the average adult consuming 3000 calories per day they would satisfy the recommended daily Omega Oil intake with 2.5 tablespoons of Hemp Oil or 4.5 tablespoons of Hemp Seeds.
– Provide higher quality and quantity of protein than any other food source.
– Provide the B Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids necessary for utilisation of Omega oils.
– Are naturally rich in Gamma Tocopherol, the most potent form of Vitamin E and the preservative of choice for Omega Oils.