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Green Gold, Hemp Seed Oil and the Path to Health

by Sebastian Pole(more info)

listed in ayurveda, originally published in issue 151 - October 2008

I have become obsessed with hemp seed oil; I thought I would tell you a bit about its wondrous virtues. There are 45 nutrients that humans cannot live without, and which our bodies cannot manufacture; 21 minerals, 13 vitamins, eight amino acids and two Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). No single food has them all, but Hemp seed has all eight amino acids, and the oil pressed from the hemp seed is one of the best known sources of the two EFAs we cannot live without; Omega-3 aIpha-linolenic acid and Omega-6 linoleic acid, and is more than 90% unsaturated. The oil from the seed of this infamous plant has a perfect balance of Omega-3-6 Essential Fatty Acids in the same ratio found in our bodies 1:3. Its high Omega-3 content helps it regulate inflammation, nourish the nervous system and strengthen the cardiac system.

EFAs are as vital to human life as vitamins and minerals. EFAs are frequently used for lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They also play an important role in reducing heart disease and stroke risk. They improve cell growth, organ function, vitality, mental state, and enhance thought processes with the transportation of oxygen, electrons and energy throughout our bodies.

Who Needs Hemp Seed Oil?

As a nutritious oil any one can eat it as part of a healthy diet. Never cook with it as it can destroy its healthful properties, but it is delicious on rice, breads or vegetables. I use it with many patients to help with ‘dryness’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘inflammation’. It is especially helpful for anyone with imbalances in their:

Digestion: Anyone suffering from a nervous type of constipation with dryness, wind and hard to pass stools will benefit from hemp seeds’ special lubricating qualities. It may also benefit ulcers and inflamed mucus membranes;
Skin: As alpha-linolenic acid can inhibit inflammatory PGE2 prostaglandins, hemp seed can reduce skin inflammation in eczema, psoriasis and acne;
Heart: High in EFAs, it can help to reduce LDL, lower triglycerides, raise HDL levels, reduce blood stickiness, lower high blood pressure and relax arterial walls. This makes it appropriate for people with high blood pressure, angina, heart rhythm abnormalities, congestive heart disease and other circulatory disorders;
Blood sugar levels: Its ability to assist circulation may help reduce numbness and tingling and also increases insulin function;
Inflammatory processes: The prostaglandins (PGE1 and PGE 3) help to reduce the inflammatory cascade induced by cycloxygenase and lipoxygenase. Because of this, hemp seed can be helpful in rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and skin diseases;
Allergic response: The prostaglandins made from EFAs assist in the allergic response, and may be beneficial in asthma, allergic eczema and urticaria;
Immunity: As our cells are made partly from EFAs, and our immune cells are constantly turning over in order to overcome invading pathogens, hemp seed oil can help to replenish any immune deficiency and repetitive infections by replenishing vital EFA reserves used for building immune cells;
Women’s health: Because of the large amounts of EFAs required in pregnancy and during breast-feeding, hemp seeds offer the perfect ratio required for developing a healthy brain and nervous system. Its mood balancing and inflammation modulating qualities can assist pre-menstrual syndrome with dysmenorrhoea and breast tenderness;
Mental health: EFAs have been shown to help alleviate depression;
Dosage: one to four tablespoons daily, with children using half that amount, as part of a balanced diet. Hemp seed oil is completely safe for children as part of a healthy diet.

How Much Omega-3 Should We Have?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) in the US published a report that on average we should have three per cent Omega-6 and one per cent Omega-3 and 0.3% EPA and DHA as a total of our calorific diet. Pregnant women are recommended to have 650mg/day of EPA and DHA/day. Other sources recommend 600mg EPA and 400mg DHA per day.

I am giving the following recommended dose based on the profile in hemp seed oil, as it contains the perfect balance of Omega oils.

As women convert 36% Omega-3 into EPA and DHA they need two to three tablespoons of hemp seed oil to get a total of 1584mg long chain Omega-3s (388mg EPA, 96mg DPA and 142mg DHA).

As men only convert 16% Omega-3, they need three to four tablespoons per day to get 1056mg/day of EPA and DHA (Burdge 2002).
This will lead to benefits including lower cardiovascular risk, smoother skin, higher energy levels, better stamina, improved performance and recovery, better insulin sensitivity, lowered cancer risk, lowered inflammation, greater heat production, and improved mood, learning, IQ and calmness, and better ability to handle stress.

Energetics

Taste: Sweet
Energy: Cooling
Post digestive taste: Sweet, lubricating and mild laxative
Quality: Heavy, Unctuous, Oily
Dosha effect:  Reduces Vata and Pitta, increases Kapha
Tissue: Benefits all tissues
Channel: Digestive, Nervous
Circulatory: Reproductive, Mental

References

Burdge G. Conversion of Alpha-Linolenic Acid to Eicosapentaenoic, Docosapenta-enoic and Docosahexaenoic Acids in Young Women. British Journal of Nutrition. 88(4): 4 11-20. Oct 2002.
Burdge G , Jones A and Wootton S. Eicosapentaenoic and Docosapentaenoic Acids are the Principal Products of Alpha-linolenic Acid Metabolism in Young Men. British Journal of Nutrition. 88(4): 355-63. Oct  2002.
Calder PC. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Inflammation. Biochem Soc Trans. 33 (Pt 2): 423-7. Review. April 2005.
Calder PC. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, Inflammation and Immunity. World Rev Nutr Diet. 88: 109-16. Review 79. 2001
Calder PC. Dietary Modification of Inflammation with Lipids. Proc Nutr Soc. 61(3): 345-58. Review. Aug 2002.
Leizer C, Ribnicky D, Poulev A, Dushenkov D and Raskin I. The Composition of Hemp Seed Oil and Its Potential as an Important Source of Nutrition. P 35-53. 2000.
Feart C, Peuchant E, Letenneur L, Samieri C, Montagnier D, Fourrier-Reglat A and Barberger-Gateau P. ‘Plasma Eicosapentaenoic Acid is Inversely Associated with Severity of Depressive Symptomatology in the Elderly: Data from the Bordeaux Sample of the Three-City Study.’ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Volume 87, Number 5, Pages 1156-1162.  May 2008.
Simopoulos AP. Essential Fatty Acids in Health and Chronic Disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 70(3 suppl): S560-S569. 1999.

Comments:

  1. Marilee Bertin said..

    I am interesting to buy Hemp Seeds for myself sooner, But my twin sister, Marilyn have Gastric Ucler, As I am not sure if she can buy hemp seeds for safety ? Thanks !


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About Sebastian Pole

Sebastian Pole Lic OHM Ayur HC MAPA MRCHM MURHP is an Ayurvedic practitioner and Herbal Director of Pukka Herbs which offers 100% organic Ayurvedic remedies and teas, produced to high ethical standards, from herbs grown by farmers who are paid a fair wage. For more information, see www.pukkaherbs.com  or Tel: 0117 9640944. Sebastian's clinic is Tel:  01225 466944 or see his website for more information www.sebastianpole.com/

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