Hemp is a very versatile plant that has myriad uses. In the USA, it accounts for a huge number of wild plants that grow without much care and particularly in the wild. These are sturdy plants that can withstand severe frost and need very little water or rain to foster good growth.
History bears witness that hemp was a widely cultivated commercial crop and the uses of hemp fiber have many and multifarious. Hemp fibres have been used for centuries to manufacture clothes, bags, shoes, paper, building materials, and insulation purposes.
It is also used as a food and is not the same as cannabinoids used for intoxication purposes. Apart from all this hemp oil is also used in the cosmetics and medical industry and has been put to multiple uses.
It is one of the safest, organic and economic plants that can be used to ensure ecological and environmental sustainability. Hemp seeds have been used as a sustainable source of nutrition in healthy diets and have been used in cuisines across the world since time immemorial.
When one thinks exclusively just about the uses of hemp fiber, it’s almost dazzling how multi-purpose the crop is.
The top FIVE uses of Hemp Fibers are:
1. To make clothes or textiles
Hemp fiber has been used since ancient times to make textiles. It is easily available and readily cultivable. It is cheaper than most textiles that are obtained organically and way more ecologically sustainable than those synthesized chemically. The fabric obtained from hemp are good for sensitive people too and don’t cause allergies.
These textiles are ready to work on and we have an heirloom of civilizational history that testifies how diverse craftsmanship existed create beautiful pieces of hemp textiles. Ornate designs and patterns have often been added to hemp textiles to make them one of a kind. It is a very workable fabric and hence can be put to multiple uses even in the contemporary world.
2. As building material
Hemp is cheaper than wood and it is a better material to be used for insulation purposes. Wood or timber is costly. These days it is not advisable to cut down trees keeping in mind the huge loss it causes to our environment and biodiversity.
Moreover, why would one use something that’s costlier, harder to acquire and at the same time not as good as out should be when there’s a cheaper and more efficient alternative? Hemp provides better insulation and can be packaged easily between the building materials. It therefore is again a very useful alternative and one that is environment friendly too.
3. To make shoes
As bizarre as this may sound but hemp fibers have been used to make sturdy shoes that provide both comfort and durability. Shoes bear most of our weight and often wear out easily.
Leather is a material that is used for a very long time to make shoes that last a long time. However, leather, that is after all processed animal hide is costly and the prices of creating leather from animal skin is not just costly but also time consuming. Hence finding a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option is the need of the hour.
While many designers and shoemakers have tried to come up with synthetic materials like rubber or reusable polymers like plastics, hemp fibers are a way better option.
They are readily available and growing in abundance in the wild. Even if cultivated as an industrial crop, the overall cost of production is considerably low and does not harm the flora and fauna of the planet.
Of late, fashion has shifted from being sober to being outrageous while at the same time revealing greater understanding of culture and history as well as sensitivity to the planet and issues pertaining to it. Keeping up with this trend, Hemp shoes pull off an intriguing comeback. Perhaps, better than the fashion prevalent centuries ago.
4. To make paper
This is the most common and basic usage of hemp fibers. Paper has been historically produced from plants. Of late, it has also been recycled and it is not uncommon to see paper made from recycled paper.
There were times when thin slices of birch bark were used as paper. This natural paper wasn’t however always obtained from dying birch trees as is actually ecologically feasible.
Later, trees were cut down to produce paper. This led to mass deforestation on a large scale. This has negatively affected our planet and it is of paramount importance that we find an alternate raw material to create paper. Hemp fibers help resolve this problem.
Hemp being easily cultivable and versatile cash crops can be easily used as raw material to create a good quality paper from hemp fiber for our uses. This would serve as an organic and natural resource of paper, one of the most indispensable materials of everyday life.
5. To make ropes or cords
Hemp Fibers have good tensile strength and can be used to make ropes and cords. In fact, this is another of the ancient uses of hemp fibers. Ropes were a common commodity and hemp was a readily available fiber to create them.
Although other fibers have been used to create biodegradable ropes in the past, like coconut and jute fibers, yet nothing works as well as hemp.
Ropes and coils have also been put to multiple uses and one such is to create beautiful works of art. Ropes aren’t just woven to be used to tie things or hang things, they have been historically used to create ornate artifacts.
Hemp ropes too have been used similarly in the past. As the modern world seeks new organic and sustainable materials for everyday use, hemp fibers find themselves being put to such uses more often now.
Hemp is, thus, a good plant that can be used up in its entirety. The seeds are edible, and so are the roots. The stem produces fibers for usage while the leaves and stem both contribute to creating paper.
The oil extracted from the plant is used in medicine and cosmetic industries owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also an effective painkiller and helps reduce acne.
While cannabinoids always tend to be abused, hemp doesn’t contain enough intoxicating ingredients to be harmful to humans. Hemp can be used to induce mild intoxication, however, the process of extracting the chemical for this purpose from the plant is very difficult and the chemical obtained is really less.
While substance abuse is a prominent problem among the current general, such a multifaceted plant can pose as a very useful raw material for a number of objects for everyday use. If used well and innovatively, it can turn out to be one of our greatest assets.
Human civilization can find cures of its many problems by cultivating and using hemp as well as by finding new uses of hemp fiber. Since little care is required to sustain them, hemp can turn out to be one of the most demanded industrial plants of the future, a way to a good life.