Ahhh, wonderful hemp. One of the reasons we love it so much is because it’s so versatile- it can be used in over 25,000 applications including food, textile/clothing, household, cosmetic, industrial, healing/medicine and of course, CANDLES! All of our aromatherapy pillars and votive candles contain hemp seed oil, which gives them their beautiful glossy luster and helps to extend their burn time. Other candle companies use toxic chemicals to get this same effect, but we find that unnecessary and potentially hazardous. We’re also the makers of the original hemp candle!
This week is Hemp History Week! We’ve made a special, limited edition candle in support of this great event, and we figured this would be a good time to tout the benefits of hemp and educate folks about this amazing resource. Did you know that in the 1700’s American farmers were required by law in some colonies to grow hemp? President Thomas Jefferson even said “Hemp is of greatest importance to our nation.” It is now illegal in America to grow this plant. That means that all of these hemp products are being imported when we could be producing them domestically!
Here are some fun and interesting facts about hemp:
- Hemp is among the oldest industries on the planet, going back more than 10,000 years to the beginnings of pottery. The Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a bit of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.
- Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Adams all grew hemp! So did Henry Ford and many other notable Americans.
- Hemp seed is nutritious and contains more essential fatty acids than any other source, is second only to soybeans in complete protein (but is more digestible by humans), is high in B-vitamins, and is a good source of dietary fiber. Hemp seed is not psychoactive and cannot be used as a drug (learn more at TestPledge.com).
- The bark of the hemp stalk contains bast fibers, which are among the Earth’s longest natural soft fibers and are also rich in cellulose. Hemp stalk is not psychoactive. Hemp fiber is longer, stronger, more absorbent and more insulative than cotton fiber.
- According to the Department of Energy, hemp as a biomass fuel producer requires the least specialized growing and processing procedures of all hemp products. The hydrocarbons in hemp can be processed into a wide range of biomass energy sources, from fuel pellets to liquid fuels and gas. Development of bio-fuels could significantly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
- Hemp can be grown organically. Only eight, out of about one hundred known pests, cause problems, and hemp is most often grown without herbicides, fungicides or pesticides. Hemp is also a natural weed suppressor due to fast growth of the canopy.
- Hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be used for every quality of paper. Hemp paper manufacturing can reduce wastewater contamination. Hemp’s low lignin content reduces the need for acids used in pulping, and its creamy color lends itself to environmentally-friendly bleaching instead of harsh chlorine compounds. Less bleaching results in less dioxin and fewer chemical by-products.
- Hemp fiber paper resists decomposition, and does not yellow with age when an acid-free process is used. Hemp paper more than 1,500 years old has been found. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper. Hemp paper can also be recycled more times than wood-based paper.
- Hemp fiberboard produced by Washington State University was found to be twice as strong as wood-based fiberboard. No additional resins are required due to naturally-occurring lignins.
- Eco-friendly hemp can replace most toxic petrochemical products. Research is being done to use hemp in manufacturing biodegradable plastic products: plant-based cellophane, recycled plastic mixed with hemp for injection-molded products, and resins made from the oil, to name a very few examples. Over two million cars on the road today have hemp composite parts for door panels, dashboards, luggage racks, etc.