Are you wondering where you could learn more about Hemp and its various uses?
Hemp seeds are processed into oil or food. Hemp milk and hemp oil are by-products high in nutritional value. Hemp for industrial uses has multiple advantages. It is stronger and longer lasting than cotton. Hemp fibers are durable and are considered strong enough for construction.
Auroville Green Practices has partnered with Hemplanet to give you an insight into some such products.
A little bit of history: Over the last 12 millenniums a variety of hemp uses and hemp products have been seen across China, India, and Europe. In modern times, improvements have been made in terms of machines that separate hemp into fibers and leaves or transform hemp into plastic1, but the commercial success of the final product has been moderate at best due to limited access to the crop.
Take paper making, for example, over time different fibers were experimented with to make paper. The quality has since improved greatly. Fibers from different plants were used and blended in, in a quest to find the cheapest way to produce the highest quality of paper. Bamboo fibers were used as the most common raw material to make paper as bamboo grows much quicker than hemp and was a significantly cheaper option. Unfortunately, very few manuscripts mentioned methods of papermaking, the phases, and devices.
Hemp like bamboo is considered a sustainable crop. It requires less water and is resistant to most pests and diseases. Unlike the cotton plant, many parts of the hemp plant can be reused or repurposed. It is one of the best crops for farmers to grow:
- It is environment friendly.
- It grows quickly and helps remove toxins from the soil.
- It absorbs more carbon dioxide per hectare than any forest or commercial crop.
- It continues to absorb CO2 even after being transformed into a commercial product. Hempcrete is an example of this.
- 1 kg of hemp requires 300-500 liters of water as compared to 20,000 liters required for 1 kg of cotton
In India, hemp usage dates back thousands of years, with its origins in Ayurveda- a holistic medical system that focuses on promoting good health and preventing illness through healthy lifestyle practices and herbal remedies. Ayurveda originated nearly 3000 years ago and it elaborately characterizes different parts of the hemp plant for a variety of curative purposes. In fact, the Vedas, estimated to be at least 3400 years old, refer to it as one of the five most sacred plants. Conventionally, hemp in India was used for preparing natural medicines, nutritional foods, and also fibre to make textiles. But then again the ride of hemp in India has been a tough one. After more than an era of snowballing regulations and even criminalization, we are finally beginning to see a new dawn for hemp in India2.
Fast forward to more recent days, in November 2015, Uttarakhand became the first state in India to legalize the cultivation of Hemp for industrial use. It remains the only state to do so till date. This however is a positive sign for the growth of industrial hemp, and its products.