Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, ground into hemp meal, sprouted or made into dried sprout powder. Hemp seeds can also be made into a liquid and used for baking or for beverages such as hemp milk and tisanes. Hemp oil is cold-pressed from the seed and is high in unsaturated fatty acids. The leaves of the hemp plant, while not as nutritional as the seeds, are edible and can be consumed raw as leafy vegetables in salads, and pressed to make juice.
The world-leading producer of hemp is China, which produces more than 70% of the world output. France ranks second with about a quarter of the world production. Smaller production occurs in the rest of Europe, Chile, and North Korea. Over 30 countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.
Two tablespoons of hemp seed serve up 90 calories and six grams of fat. Watching what you eat? I say, "Keep sprinkling!" That two-tablespoon serving size offers two grams of fiber, five grams of protein, 300 mg of potassium, 15 percent of your vitamin-A requirement and 25 percent of your daily iron needs. It’s hard to find another food that nutrient-dense.
Author Paoli Ranalli in the book, Advances in Hemp Research, states that one of the major minerals that one can find in hemp seed is iron, an integral part of red blood cell construction in the human body. Iron deficiency can result in anemia, so having a proper amount of iron intake from foods like hemp seed can help prevent anemia, which displays itself in symptoms like fatigue, headaches, muscle weakness, and a wide range of other symptoms. Iron also helps in reducing stress and anxiety.
As of 2011, hemp seeds are not known to cause any interactions with common medications, but you should talk to your doctor or naturopath about any over-the-counter or prescription drugs you are taking before adding hemp seeds to your diet. Blue Shield of California recommends caution to anyone taking anticoagulant drugs, since hemp seeds inhibit platelets and may pose a bleeding risk.
While hemp seeds are grown in many parts of the world, its major producers include Canada, France, and China. Hemp has been prohibited from cultivation in the United States since about 1950. Despite its value, the U.S. government doesn't recognize the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana. In fact, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, classifies all varieties of Cannabis as marijuana, making industrial hemp just as illegal regardless of its use.
The etymology is uncertain but there appears to be no common Proto-Indo-European source for the various forms of the word; the Greek term kánnabis is the oldest attested form, which may have been borrowed from an earlier Scythian or Thracian word. Then it appears to have been borrowed into Latin, and separately into Slavic and from there into Baltic, Finnish, and Germanic languages. Following Grimm's law, the "k" would have changed to "h" with the first Germanic sound shift, after which it may have been adapted into the Old English form, hænep. Barber (1991) however, argued that the spread of the name "kannabis" was due to its historically more recent plant use, starting from the south, around Iran, whereas non-THC varieties of hemp are older and prehistoric. Another possible source of origin is Assyrian qunnabu, which was the name for a source of oil, fiber, and medicine in the 1st millennium BC.
Hemp seeds are high in nutritional value and contain 20 different varieties of amino acids and all nine of the essential amino acids (like flax). Some essential amino acids can't be naturally produced by the body and these seeds have the capacity to supplement them in the body. They contain high amounts of protein, which helps in strengthening the immune system, thereby, reducing the instances of diseases, besides helping in excreting toxins from the body. Studies in the recent past have shown that consuming hemp seeds whether raw or in oil form, has the capacity to aid in the healing process of diseases related to immune deficiency. There is no other food substance which contains such high quantities of essential fatty acids found in hemp seeds, higher than even flaxseed and other nut or seed oil as well as containing high amounts of vitamin E and trace minerals. It has a balanced ratio of omega 3 to 6 fats at around a three to one ratio. This won't help correct your omega balance if it's off, but it gives you the right balance to start with.
The Spaniards brought hemp to the Americas and cultivated it in Chile starting about 1545. Similar attempts were made in Peru, Colombia, and Mexico, but only in Chile did the crop find success. In July 1605, Samuel Champlain reported the use of grass and hemp clothing by the (Wampanoag) people of Cape Cod and the (Nauset) people of Plymouth Bay told him they harvested hemp in their region where it grew wild to a height of 4 to 5 ft.  In May 1607, "hempe" was among the crops Gabriel Archer observed being cultivated by the natives at the main Powhatan village, where Richmond, Virginia is now situated; and in 1613, Samuell Argall reported wild hemp "better than that in England" growing along the shores of the upper Potomac. As early as 1619, the first Virginia House of Burgesses passed an Act requiring all planters in Virginia to sow "both English and Indian" hemp on their plantations. The Puritans are first known to have cultivated hemp in New England in 1645.
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