by Sheila Julson
Hemp, a variety of the cannabis sativa plant species grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products, has environmental, economic and health benefits. After years of stigma surrounding cannabis, people are realizing how hemp can add nutrition to the diet and serve as an organic, sustainable source of clothing, rope and other consumables. Keri and Robert Myorski, of Help Me Hemp, an online retailer of hemp seeds, oils and other hemp products, are eager to explain the plant’s many benefits.
“Hemp is a plant-based alkaline protein, making it suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and a great source of vitamin B, iron, copper, glutamine, omega-3 and omega-6, fiber and 20 amino acids, with nine key central amino acids,” says Robert.
The Myorskis discovered hemp’s nutritional benefits four years ago when their young son Jack was diagnosed with leukemia. He has a genetic mutation that prevents him from metabolizing the toxins used in chemotherapy. The Myorskis wanted to help Jack, and found comfort in being able to add nutrition to his diet through hemp milk, which is lower in sugar than dairy and other plant-based milk products. Robert also successfully reduced his sugar cravings and detoxed using hemp milk.
Jack, now 6 years old, is doing well and has been in remission for a year. The Myorskis wanted to make hemp accessible to others after witnessing firsthand how hemp has benefited their family’s health. Their hulled hemp seeds, which can be delivered monthly, are easily mixed with water to make nutty, versatile hemp milk for use in smoothies or flavor with local honey or other ingredients.
Hemp milk is satisfying. “It takes away hunger pangs, and it makes a good vegan substitute in many recipes,” Robert says. Keri notes that hemp seeds also make a nutrient-dense topping for salads; they can be toasted and used as handy snacks for school lunches or on the go. Their blog, Dishes Are Done Dinner Club, which can be accessed via their website, has additional nutritional information and recipe suggestions.
Hemp oil naturally contains antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Robert says, making it helpful for skin issues and cardiovascular protection. A little goes along way; one tablespoon of hemp oil per day is all that’s needed to get the full nutritional benefits. Help Me Hemp hulled hemp seeds and hemp proteins are packaged with dandelion, maca root or goji in compostable bags with labels, and the oil is sold in glass bottles.
Although mainstream America has become more receptive to the health attributes of cannabis, the Myorskis still hear some misconceptions about hemp, such as concerns about failing a drug test. “The trace amounts of THC [tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant] are so low that they cannot be detected,” Keri affirms.
Help Me Hemp sources their hemp from an organic grower in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in Canada. Robert states that hemp is one of the fastest-growing crops; plants can grow up to nine feet high in as little as 90 days, and the plant requires no herbicides or pesticides. Hemp plants are also one of nature’s best air filters. “It’s a great plant to control air pollution. Every ton of hemp grown can absorb 1.63 tons of carbon dioxide,” he says.
While hemp has been used as a sustainable material for clothing and paper, as well as rope used by sailing ships for centuries, Robert says breakthroughs in research have found hemp to also be an environmentally sound source of building materials. He and Keri are networking and hope to work with companies to develop hemp concrete and hemp insulation for homes. They also plan to introduce reusable hemp bags as an alternative to single-use plastic bags, and hemp yoga mats, which are both antibacterial and biodegradable.
For more information, visit HelpMeHemp.org.