Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wholesome Wednesdays: Hemp Seed Butter

When i was a teenager in the very dry Klamath Basin climate of southern Oregon, i was constantly on a quest to find the perfect moisturizer. Most didn't cut the mustard, but the one store bought cream that really stood out was the hemp butter cream from The Body Shop. This stuff smells amazing and moisturizes the dryest skin while trapping that moisture in. Love it. BUT it's super expensive and it's not made by me, now is it?

So, i bought some straight hemp butter (hemp seeds with palm oil) from Texas Natural Supply and have been experimenting with mixing it with various oils and essential oils to create chapped lip fighting, cracked cuticle combatting, all around dry skin soothing balms of various sorts. My first balm includes calendula oil and lavender/rosemary essential oils to be a really good antiseptic, healing balm. Healed up a burn i had and cured my chapped lips in a jiffy. Also great on nose abrasions from too much seasonal nose blowing. I'm storing my balm in an old Burt's Bees tin with Burt's face scratched out and mine drawn in. Silly. I will continue filling empty tins and tubs as i find them around the house with new hemp balm experiments, starting with one mixed with shea butter and jojoba oil for a certain web designer in New York with sadly mistreated skin.

So, what about the wholesome health benefits of hemp, you may ask? Firstly, hemp is just great as a plant for all its uses: cloth, paper, rope, and healthful seeds. They're full of omegas and fatty acids which are good eaten and rubbed on your outsides. Too bad the USA is so weird about hemp cultivation (a certain smokeable cousin has given it a bad rap despite it being grown by good ole George Washington back in the day) because it's very hardy and grows like a weed, unlike the pesticide beckoning and water gulping cotton we seem so enamored with.
Taken from

As you can see, hemp seeds are chalk full of nutrition: tons of protein, a good amount of the good fats, low in saturated fats,  and a decent bit of dietary fiber. Plus look at all that phosphorus, zinc and magnesium! Hemp seed oil contains the natural anti-oxidant vitamin E and sterols which block cholesterol absorption. The omega fatty acids give hemp seeds their claim to fame, but a rare protein known as globule edestins that is very similar to the globulin found in human blood plasma might be one of the reasons hemp seeds have been considered the 'perfect food' and have been consumed for ages as part of healthy diets throughout humanity. Please visit this site for some really insightful information on hemp seeds. Here is an excerpt:
Hemp seeds contain the most balanced and richest natural single source of essential oils for human consumption. The E.F.A.'s not only help to restore wasting bodies, but also improve damaged immune systems, so it is not so surprising that modern researchers have studied them in relationship to the modern immune attacking AIDS virus. (Eidlman, M.D., Hamilton, ED.D, Ph.D 1992).

Hemp oil is natures most balanced oil for human nutrition (3:1 LA to LNA ratio) and is easily digestible; in fact this oil could provide all of our Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) requirements for life, due to the balanced 80% EFA content of the oil.

Now, how about rubbing it on the skin? Again, it is the fatty acids that makes hemp seed oil so great. They nourish the skin and help prevent moisture loss, but don't leave an overly greasy feel. You can mix the hemp seed oil into lotions, soaps, etc, but can also use it straight for lips or anything else you please. Hemp seed oil is an anti-inflammatory ingredient, good for soothing balms and lotions to be used on joints and muscles. Texas Natural Supply has great info on hemp seeds including this excerpt:
Benefits of Hempseed Oil
* Helps heal skin lesions and dry skin
* Reduces inflammation of skin and joints
* Contains pain-killing and anti-nausea properties
 Maybe the US government will stop prohibiting the cultivation of this wonderfully healthful plant so that we don't have to import it from Canada.  Lame. In the meantime, I'll keep purchasing it where i can get it, sprinkling the seeds in my yogurt and rubbing the oil on my chapped lips. It's good stuff, i tell ya!

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