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Hemp's Roots - Not Just History

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We're introducing new products to our Hemp General Store by Kentucky Hemp Works, featuring the hemp root! Thus, we have compiled some educational content to teach consumers some additional value of hemp in its entirety.

Hemp Root Salve | Jasmine Lemon or Citrus


Hemp Root Body Lotion

Cold-Pressed Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil Firestarters


The Hemp Root and its Nutritional Benefits

The humble hemp root is an extremely versatile part of the plant that offers an array of health benefits but is often an underutilized and underestimated part of the hemp plant. The roots can be employed in many ways - from being mashed into a paste, dried into a powder, to boiled and smashed. It contains phytocannabinoids and terpenes that possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumor properties. Historically, hemp roots have been used to alleviate toothaches and ulcers, and to lower fevers and blood pressure. It contains a small amount of choline, which is an essential nutrient that has several vital functions in the body, such as supporting liver health, nerve health, brain health, and maintaining a healthy metabolism.

One really important factor in understanding the nutritional benefits of the roots, is that different root samples may contain different nutrients depending on the soil and the microbes of the soil. Understanding the different factors that affect the plant can help determine the most beneficial use for each part of the plant.


Historical Uses

Hemp roots contain too little THC and CBD to be used for botanical extractions but an analysis of its chemical compounds show why the root was considered such an important healing and anti-inflammatory herb in ancient times.

Hemp root was first recorded to be used for medicinal purposes in China approximately 5,000 years ago. The root was used in the form of juice as a diuretic and to stop hemorrhaging in women after labor.

The Greeks and Romans boiled hemp root in water and drank the contents, believing it reduced joint stiffness and inflammation. It has been used as a treatment for burns, as an antiseptic and as an antipyretic, reducing even the highest of fevers. In the first century, Pliny the Elder described in Natural Histories that a decoction of the root in water could be used to relieve stiffness in the joints, gout, and related conditions.

How to Use the Hemp Root

There are many ways that hemp root can be consumed or applied to maximize the various medicinal benefits. A traditional way to prepare the cannabis root is to dry the roots and grind them into a fine powder. The powder can then be used as a supplement added to foods, beverages, or filled in capsules.

The dry, powdered form of the root can be used as a poultice to soothe skin disorders including dermatitis, cuts, and burns. It can also be mixed with a carrier oil to improve absorption into the skin - such as coconut oil and olive oil - two of the most common household options. Cannabis root used in salves, oils, and balms can also be used to treat herpes, blisters, pimples, acne, arthritis, hemorrhoids, asthma, sore throat, colds, headaches, tension pains, migraines, and chronic inflammation of the larynx.

Whole cannabis roots can be boiled to create a powerful tea. Cannabis root 'tea' can be home-brewed, usually by slowly simmering the dried, powdered root (often with cinnamon bark, anise, or other aromatics) in a crock pot for twelve hours or more before straining and drinking. This tea will be significantly bitter than tea made with leaves or flowers. Adding a small amount of fat to the tea while brewing (via milk, coconut oil, etc.) may potentially help release/extract some of the fat-soluble terpenes and ketones present in the roots, though a plain tea is also thought to be beneficial.

Cannabis root tinctures and liniments can be made by slowly simmering cannabis roots for an extended period of time. After several hours in a slow cooker, the roots will create a goop that can be added into a tincture or liniment. While alcohol is the most popular tincture base, vegetable glycerin and apple cider vinegar are also commonly used. The root can also be simmered in oil and water, after which the residual oil is separated from the water and plant matter and used it as the basis for topical medications.


The Science of the Root

There are two alkaloids found in the cannabis root. Pharmaceuticals use these alkaloids as building blocks in medications. The first alkaloid, piperidine, is used to create medicine used in psychiatry. The second is pyrrolidine, which is used to manufacture stimulant medications.

There are small quantities of choline and atropine present in the cannabis roots. These two alkaloids are also found in the stems, seeds, pollen, and leaves. In small doses, these alkaloids have been found to have various medicinal benefits, although, in high doses, they can be highly toxic. When it comes to maintaining healthy cell membranes, choline is an essential nutrient. Post-menopausal women are at high risk for a choline deficiency, so they can benefit from consuming cannabis root tea. Some of the best benefits from atropine are that it’s great for increasing the heart rate during resuscitation, as well as relaxing the eye muscles. Atropine has also been found to have bronchodilatory properties, which help increase airflow to the lungs.

There are three beneficial terpenes that are also found inside the hemp root. These three are friedelin, epifriedelanol, pentacyclic triterpenoids  Friedelin has been found to have properties that are anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcerative. Epifriedelanol has the potential as an anti-tumor agent. And lastly is pentacyclic triterpenoid. This triterpene is shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and induces apoptosis (cell death). This is especially a desirable terpene because cancer cells stop responding to signals that tell them to self-destruct and pentacyclic triterpenoid activates those signals to do such. 

As you can see, cannabis roots are extremely versatile! They are not only beneficial for your everyday health, but also a wonderful natural remedy for many pains and illnesses.

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