Anthropological evidence suggests hemp was used by early Eastern societies as a source of food and medicine since 6,000 B.C. Far before our modern understanding of the nutritional values of hemp, ancient Chinese civilizations incorporated hemp seed into their diets. As a rich source of protein, vitamins. and essential fatty and amino acids, the ancient Chinese cultivated large crops of hemp to fulfill the life sustaining needs of their robust civilization.
Hemp sustains life
With access to copious amounts of hemp, the ancient Chinese began to experiment with the plant as an ingredient in medicines and natural remedies. The ancient text “Pen Ts’ao ching”, from 2737 B.C., shows the first recorded evidence of hemp being used as an effective medicine.
In the text, Chinese emperor and pharmacologist Shen-Nung is credited with creating oils and salves from pressed hemp seed and stalks. He used these products of the hemp plant to treat skin irritation, inflammation, rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, and disorders of the female reproductive system.
Hemp oil was even used by the Chinese as an ingredient in a popular immortality elixir. Though it didn’t create immortals, this application illustrates the faith that early societies had for the plant’s potential to provide answers to each of life’s challenging questions.
Why it works
The discovery of the human endocannabinoid system in the early 1990’s has given us tremendous insight into the reasons why hemp plays such an important role in wellness routines. Though the endocannabinoid system was not discovered until the twentieth century, this regulatory system that responds to the cannabinoids found in hemp has been present in our bodies since the dawn of man.
Research suggests that the endocannabinoid system regulates homeostasis, or the body’s ability to promote stable conditions essential for the prevention of disease and sickness. Without modern vaccinations, ancient civilizations existed under constant threat of widespread disease.
The introduction of hemp and it’s cannabinoids gave them valuable antibacterial and antioxidant sources that likely aided in the prevention of disease epidemics.
The historical importance of hemp as a wellness ingredient is well documented. As our society begins to embrace natural diets like “Paleo”, it is clear that we are primed to embrace other aspects of early civilizations’ wellness routines. With scientific evidence of the healthy qualities of hemp on our side, we should begin to feel more comfortable incorporating hemp’s proven healthy qualities into our lifestyles.
Do you use hemp as part of your wellness routine? How has it helped you? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.