(NaturalNews) Hemp. Just the word conjures images of the Drug Enforcement Administration and political battles. But industrial hemp is a far cry from marijuana and contains almost zero THC. An ancient crop, hemp has served humanity since 2000 BCE -- providing fibers for cloth and rope, building materials and paper. It's also an incredible source of food. Even the American founding fathers recognized the brilliance of hemp and cultivated it actively on their own land. Hemp is remarkably versatile and Eco-friendly with many modern applications for fuel, automobile fabrication, toxic waste removal and concrete manufacturing.
A patriotic plant
George Washington declared, "Grow it everywhere, hemp is greatly viable for winning the war and sustaining a future fantastic for America." Washington along with Thomas Jefferson, appreciated the value of hemp as a 'cash crop' and encouraged its cultivation heartily. The colonists were urged to grow hemp due to its resilient nature and outstanding versatility. Interestingly, two of the most iconic symbols of the United States were made with hemp materials: The first American flag and the Declaration of Independence. During WWII, the government coaxed farmers to replace their crops with hemp by using the propaganda film Hemp for Victory and subsidies.
An important crop for economic prosperity and ecological health
The demand for hemp in the world market has made it a contemporary cash crop. New technologies have allowed hemp to be made into soft and durable clothing, biofuel, insulation, lightweight yet strong concrete as well as paving materials that last for hundreds of years. And hemp is exceptionally eco-friendly. It removes carbon dioxide from the air and pumps out oxygen -- offering a practical solution for global warming. Astoundingly, one acre of hemp produces more oxygen than 25 acres of forest land. Hemp can also be used for biodegradable plastic and building materials that are "non-toxic, non-flammable, mold and mildew resistant and cash positive," according to Scott Thill in the article Ten Great Reasons to Kill America's Ban on Growing Hemp. Henry Ford even manufactured a car body out of a hemp resin and demonstrated its resiliency by taking a sledge hammer to the side panel -- not a nick, dent or blemish to be found. In France, bridges made of hemp and lime are centuries old.
Hemp is easy to grow in a variety of soils and conditions, drought tolerant and resists pests. As an added bonus, hemp does not strip the soil of vital nutrients but actually enriches it. Hemp has also been used successfully as a toxic waste 'sponge' for nuclear disasters and chemical spills.
Extraordinary survival food
Hemp is an incredible superfood. An excellent source of protein, essential fatty acids, zinc, iron and magnesium -- hemp seeds have been consumed throughout history during times of famine and long sea journeys. Hemp is a high quality, complete protein. Sixty-five percent of the protein content is in the form of globulin edestin which supports the immune system. The perfect ratio of fatty acids found in hemp oil fosters healthy brain function, repairs DNA damage and wards off inflammation. High fiber levels in the seed keep the digestive system happy too.
In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country." Intriguing that in our modern day of failed economies and environmental crisis, the cultivation of hemp remains illegal in the United States when it could easily and efficiently solve many of our troubles.
Sources for this article include:
"Ten Great Reasons to Kill America's Ban on Growing Hemp" Scott Thill, Wake Up World, June 30, 2012. Retrieved on November 16, 2012 from: http://wakeup-world.com
About the author: Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.