Monthly Archives for: May 2014
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Hemp is of greatest importance to our nation.” Boy, did he have the long view. Today, the U.S. hemp industry has estimated annual retail sales of $500 million dollars. Yet the crop that was planted by the nation’s founding fathers, and is today a rising star in healthful living, is currently prohibited from being grown on U.S. farms.
Nutritious, sustainable and versatile, hemp is for a healthy future. Hemp is the distinct oilseed and fiber varieties of the plant species Cannabis sativa L. It is a tall, slender, fibrous plant that has been cultivated worldwide for over 10,000 years.
A nutrition powerhouse, hemp is also an environmentally sustainable solution for potentially thousands of products ranging from body care to plastics, paper, textiles, building materials and even ethanol. With a rapidly expanding market for hemp products, cultivating hemp is an untapped opportunity for American farmers.
Good for Our Bodies
Hemp seeds are a nearly perfect food source. High in digestible protein, healthy Omega essential fatty acids (EFAs) and naturally occurring minerals, hemp seeds are also free of gluten and have no known allergens.
Foods made from hemp seeds have become staples in co-ops and grocery stores across the country. The light, nutty flavor of hemp seeds make them a perfect raw ingredient for delicious breads, cereals, waffles, nut butters, protein powders, nutritional oils, non-dairy milk and even ice cream.
Hemp seeds have a perfectly balanced 1:3 ratio of naturally occurring Omega-3 and Omega-6 EFAs for our body. And unlike other seeds and nutritional oils, such as flax and fish oil, hemp seeds also contain Super Omega-3 Stearidonic Acid (SDA) and Super Omega-6 Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).
Hemp’s oil’s Omega-3 EFAs and vitamin E content make it an ideal ingredient for body care products. The EFAs soothe and restore skin in salves and creams and give excellent emolliency and a smooth after-feel to lotions, lip balms, conditioners, shampoos and soaps.
Good for the Earth
Hemp is an environmentally sustainable solution for potentially thousands of products ranging from plastics, paper, textiles, building materials and even ethanol. A low-impact agricultural product, hemp is renewable resource that can be grown without pesticides or agricultural chemicals.
Hemp is gaining popularity among leading clothing designers for its look, feel and breathability. Hemp can replace cotton, a crop that accounts for nearly 25% of all pesticide use in the U.S. The strength of hemp fiber makes it a favorite for specialty paper. And paper pulp made from hemp hurds (the woody core fiber) is an ideal additive to strengthen recycled post-consumer waste (PCW) pulp, thus expanding PCW’s use.
Today, millions of cars built by Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Lotus, Mercedes Benz and BMW contain hemp composites for door panels. Energy-efficient homes are built with hemp concrete, and retail stores are using hemp fiberboard displays. Imagine a future where hemp is just another useful material for all kinds of earth-friendly products.
Good for our Farmers
Hemp is a part of America’s agricultural heritage. First gown in 1600′s at Jamestown, hemp is best suited to regions that also produce wheat and corn. Hemp can be grown organically and aids in weed suppression and soil building, making it a favored rotation crop.
The market for hemp products is an estimated $500 million dollars annually and growing. Even with Canada’s entry into hemp production in the late 1990′s, demand for hemp seeds and fiber is exceeding supply. U.S. farmers want an opportunity to grow this crop once again and share in the rewards of hemp’s soaring popularity.
What Hemp Isn’t
It is important to note that hemp has no drug value. Hemp seed contains little to no measurable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in drug varieties of Cannabis. Using hemp products will not cause a false positive drug test. Learn more about the issue at www.TestPledge.com.
Written by Elise Tyrie originally for Wish Garden Herbs.
Most of us don’t think about our hormones that often, but I assure you, they play a huge role in our lives! When we’re feeling great, chances are our hormones have something to do with it. If we’re feeling chronically unwell, our hormonal health could probably use some attention. This is particularly true for women, as the “dance” our hormones do is especially intricate. It’s not just about maintaining homeostasis, as it generally is for men; our bodies must prepare for pregnancy each month. This means at any given point in the month our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels will fluctuate. Every step of the delicate dance our hormones do must be perfectly choreographed.
Having excess estrogen paired with insufficient progesterone (what experts call “estrogen dominance”) is a common form of hormonal imbalance for women. Chronic stress is one sure-fire way to get it. Exposure to xenoestrogens, or synthetic estrogens, which are found in a wide array of plastics (your water bottle!), toothpastes, deodorants, sunscreens, canned food linings, preservatives, and cosmetics, is another. Eating meat and dairy from conventionally raised (factory farmed) animals is another source of exposure. Some women have a genetic predisposition to hormonal imbalance, which may become more noticeable as they age. If this is you, don’t worry! It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy having healthy hormones, but you might need to pay a little more attention to it than others.
Symptoms of excess estrogen can include
- heavy, painful and early periods
- a light period followed by a heavy one
- endometriosis, water retention, breast tenderness and cysts
- trouble loosing weight
- hair loss
- brain fog
- mood swings
Wow, that’s a long list of things no woman wants to experience! Aside from what’s listed above, balanced estrogen and progesterone levels will ensure that you have strong and flexible bones, smooth and tight skin, a good metabolism, and arteries that are free of debris.
Ok, so you’ve read through the list of symptoms and thought, “That’s me!” and you’re anxious for me to tell you how to get your hormones back in check. My first recommendation is to add 1,000mg of the herb Vitex, also known as Chasteberry, to your daily regimen. Vitex works by stimulating your pituitary gland to balance your hormones on its own. This strategy works particularly well for women who have not yet gone through menopause. Hang tight if you decide to try Vitex – it can take a couple of months before you really start seeing results, but trust me, you will. Secondly, eat more cruciferous vegetables and turmeric. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower all contain DIM, a phytonutrient that promotes normal estrogen levels. Turmeric prevents estrogen from encouraging growth in cancer cells, which it tends to do when present in excessive amounts.