Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of common hemp plants and is a valuable organic resource for use in holistic treatments, remedies and supplements. Since the ancient Chinese Ming Dynasty, beginning in the 14th century, health practitioners have harnessed the powers of the hemp plant by extracting and ingesting the oil from the seeds to promote good health. Today, an increasing number of manufacturers are utilizing this renewable resource by creating a wide variety of hemp seed oil based products.
The oil is collected by harvesting the seeds of any strain of the Cannabis sativa plant. The term "hemp," when applied to strains of Cannabis sativa, is indicative of a subspecies known as C. sativa subsp. sativa that is grown for manufacturing and product use. Often the hemp plant is confused with the marijuana plant known as C. sativa subsp. indica. The defining difference between these two subspecies is derived from the dramatically different levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in the two subspecies and in the fibrous qualities of their stalks. The manufacturing of hemp seed oil is derived from C. sativa subsp. sativa plants, which have been long regarded as a useful and popular agricultural resource.
To harvest the oil, there are several methods for pressing the seeds. A common method is the cold press. When direct crushing force is directly applied to the seeds, a viscous liquid is secreted and collected. The industrial manufacturing of hemp seed oil includes a washing process that cleans the seeds prior to pressing. By washing the seeds and removing all possible plant debris, the manufacturer can guarantee that no amount of THC will be present in the oil. If, however, the seeds are cold pressed without washing then trace amounts of THC, and other impurities, will appear in the oil totaling a concentration of approximately 0.3 percent or lower, which is well below the levels of its intoxicant cousin that registers at between two and 20 percent by volume.
Cold pressed hemp seed oil may have varying properties of chemical composition due to the likelihood of plant debris was present at the time of pressing. The cold pressed hemp oil will vary in shades of dark to light green color. The relevant color can be an indicator of taste as the darker shades tend to be earthier in flavor.
Refined hemp seed oil is typically lacking in color and is nearly clear. This clarified version of hemp seed oil has little flavor and lacks natural vitamins and antioxidants. For this reason, this form of the oil is typically used as an additive in the manufacturing of lubricants, paints, inks fuels and plastics. The refined oil is predictably limited in its chemical composition, but it is still a valued additive in skin care products.
The use of hemp seed oil in shampoos, soaps and detergents will have varying properties based on the level of refinement used in the product's creation. Small businesses that use a cold press method will provide products with higher vitamin richness. Larger manufacturers will likely use a refining process that will incorporate hemp seed oil strictly for its properties as a low-cost high-quality oil.
The popularity of hemp seed oil is most frequently associated with its nutritional value. This oil is considered highly nutritious of its three-to-one ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids. This ratio is important because it mirrors the human body's natural levels required for healthy living. As a nutritional supplement, hemp seed oil has wavered in its popular. Unfortunately, hemp seed oil does have a low smoke point and is quickly broken down by heat, so it is not recommended that this oil be used as cooking oil like olive oil. Instead, hemp seed oil should be treated as food additive oil for addition to and enhancement of prepared foods.
As part of its excellent balance of fatty acids, hemp seed oil contains a low level of saturated fats when compared with other culinary oils. It is commonly suggested that one tablespoon of hemp seed oil can be ingested daily to help regulate one's cholesterol by providing an adult's daily requirements of essential fatty acids.
Relief of symptoms associated with eczema and high cholesterol have been directly linked to the daily ingestion of hemp seed oil. While there are indications that hemp oil can be used to treat a number of ailments, it is most effective as a deterrent to certain chronic conditions. Some associations have been made in the ability of hemp seed oil to reduce risks of heart disease and cancer, though no studies have conclusively proven this to be true.
Recommended daily intake for an average sized adult of typical build and body fat is approximately one to four tablespoons, up to 50 ml, per day. In the case of some therapy programs, an adult may be recommended to take up to 150 ml per day for seven days before reverting back to a normal daily intake amount. The requirement of oil intake is generally recommended to be between 15 and 20 percent of one's daily caloric consumption. Essential fatty acids contained in hemp seed oil contain embodied energy of approximately nine calories per milliliter, which is mainly used by the body for structural, hormonal and electrical functions.
As with any natural product, the predictive outcomes of the use of hemp seed oil may have varying properties specific to the individual plant. Therefore, the validity of extreme allegations of hemp seed oil acting as a miraculous cure-all should be tempered with consultation from a licensed physician familiar with one's individual medical factors.
Hemp seed oil is not typically found to raise energy levels, but some testing indicates that it may help to facilitate better photon absorption of sunlight by human cells. Hemp seed oil can have adverse effects on children, so one should consult a pediatrician before allowing a child to ingest it.
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