A voice for
herbal medicine

We share traditional, scientific and practical insights written by experienced herbalists and health experts from the world of herbal medicine and natural health

Hemp Seed Oil provides the body with its daily requirement of Essential Fatty Acids

Hemp seed

Cannabis indica Cannabaceae

Hemp seed oil contains the perfect balance of Omega oils.

Sustainability Status

Sustainability status

Not currently on risk lists but complete data may be missing on the status of the species. Read more about our sustainability guide.

Key benefits
  • Constipation and digestive detoxification
  • Menopause
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • How does it feel?

    Hemp is an annual plant that grows all over India, mainly in Bihar, Bengal, Himachala and Uttar Pradesh. The plant can grow to heights of 3 metres and has distinctive palm shaped leaves with five to seven leaflets and are a dark green in colour in are covered in fine grey hairs. Hemp naturally grows in Persia, Northern India, China and Southern Siberia. The seeds, which are the portion used medicinally and to produce hemp seed oil, are very small, spherical and a light-brown colour. Hemp is one of the fastest growing biomass in the world and one of the most useful crops with everything from seed to fibrous stem being utilised.

  • What can I use it for?

    Hemp seed oil contains the highest amount of Essential Fatty Acids of any vegetable oil (80%) which includes Omega-6 (linoleic acid), Omega-3 (alpha linolenic acid) and GLA (gamma linolenic acid). Essential Fatty Acids can help to reduce Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL), raise High Density Lipoproteins (HDL), lower blood pressure and blood ‘stickiness’. It is an excellent remedy for High Blood Pressure, angina, congestive heart disease and circulatory disorders. The body’s cells are partly made up of EFA’s, including the immune cells. Hemp Seed Oil can help to replenish immune cells and reduce immune deficiency.

    The perfect ratio of Essential Fatty Acids found in this oil help to develop a healthy brain and nervous system and tackle chronic conditions such as depression and anxiety. The impact that this oil has on the nervous system also make it a great choice for dealing with pre-menstrual syndrome and balancing moods. High levels of EFA’s are required during pregnancy and breast feeding and also help the development of the child’s nervous system and brain whilst it is still in the womb.

    Alpha-linolenic acid can inhibit inflammatory PGE2 prostaglandins which can reduce skin inflammations in acne, eczema and psoriasis but also help reduce inflammation initiated by allergic reactions.

    Prostaglandins PGE1 and PGE3 can help reduce the inflammatory cascade introduced by cycloxgenase and lipoxygenase, reducing inflammation in rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis.

    Hemp seed oil is wonderfully lubricating and is perfect for nervous constipation with dry and hard stools as it soothes inflamed mucus membranes. It is a superb demulcent laxative.

  • Into the heart of hemp seed

    Hemp Seed Oil is packed with Essential Fatty Acids, specifically Omega Oils. Omega Oils are incredibly restorative to the whole body with a particular focus upon the nervous system and the heart. The Omega Oils help to reduce inflammatory build up in the digestive system, the skin system and also in the circulation and the heart providing long term protection and relief from chronic conditions.

    EFA’s are part of every cell in the body and their inclusion in the diet is vital. A lack of good quality EFA’s can impact upon almost every body system and result in chronic inflammation and congestion. Hemp seed oil contains 80% EFA’s and influences a strong and protective healthy inflammation response that targets the digestion, skin, musculo-skeletal system, nervous system and the heart.

  • Traditional actions

  • Traditional energetic actions

    Herbal energetics are the descriptions Herbalists have given to plants, mushrooms, lichens, foods, and some minerals based on the direct experience of how they taste, feel, and work in the body. All traditional health systems use these principles to explain how the environment we live in and absorb, impacts our health. Find out more about traditional energetic actions in our article “An introduction to herbal energetics“.

  • Did you know?

    Hemp seed oil is the highly nutritious essence from the seeds of the hemp plant that is high in essential fatty acids (EFAs). They are ‘essential’ as our body doesn’t make them which makes hemp seed oil a vital addition to our everyday diet. The EFAs are also known as Omega oils- or 3,6 and 9 renowned for supporting skin, nerve and brain health.

Additional information

  • Safety

    No drug-herb interactions are known. The flowering buds and the resin is currently illegal for use in most countries across the globe.

  • Dosage

    Seed: 5-15g of ground seed.

    Oil: 15-100ml per day internally. As required, when used externally.

hemp seed illustration
An ‘aromatic’ remedy, high in volatile essential oils, was most often associated with calming and sometimes ‘warming’ the digestion. Most kitchen spices and herbs have this quality: they were used both as flavouring and to ease the digestion of sometimes challenging pre-industrial foods. Many aromatics are classed as ‘carminatives’ and are used to reduce colic, bloating and agitated digestion. They also often feature in respiratory remedies for colds, chest and other airway infections. They are also classic calming inhalants and massage oils, and are the basis of aromatherapy for their mental benefits.
Astringent taste
The puckering taste you get with many plants (the most familiar is black tea after being stewed too long, or some red wines) is produced by complex polyphenols such as tannins. Tannins are used in concentrated form (eg from oak bark) to make leather from animal skins. The process of ‘tanning’ involves the coagulation of relatively fluid proteins in living tissues into tight clotted fibres (similar to the process of boiling an egg). Tannins in effect turn exposed surfaces on the body into leather. In the case of the lining of mouth and upper digestive tract this is only temporary as new mucosa are replenished, but in the meantime can calm inflamed or irritated surfaces. In the case of open wounds tannins can be a life-saver – when strong (as in the bark of broadleaved trees) they can seal a damaged surface. One group of tannins, the reddish-brown ‘condensed tannins’ are procyanidins, which can reduce inflammation and oxidative damage.
Bitters are a very complex group of phytochemicals that stimulate the bitter receptors in the mouth. They were some of the most valuable remedies in ancient medicine. They were experienced as stimulating appetite and switching on a wide range of key digestive functions, including increasing bile clearance from the liver (as bile is a key factor in bowel health this can be translated into improving bowel functions and the microbiome). Many of these reputations are being supported by new research on the role of bitter receptors in the mouth and elsewhere round the body. Bitters were also seen as ‘cooling’ reducing the intensity of some fevers and inflammatory diseases.
Blue-purple colouring
Any fruits with a blue-purple colouring contain high levels of the polyphenols known as anthocyanins. These work 1) on the walls of small blood vessels, helping to maintain capillary structure to reduce a key stage in inflammation, and improving the microcirculation to the tissues; 2) to improve retinal function and vision; 3) to support connective tissue repair around the body.
Traditional ‘cold’ or cooling’ remedies often contain bitter phytonutrients such a iridoids (gentian), sesiquterpenes (chamomile), anthraquinones (rhubarb root), mucilages (marshmallow), some alkaloids and flavonoids. They tend to influence the digestive system, liver and kidneys. Cooling herbs do just that; they diffuse, drain and clear heat from areas of inflammation, redness and irritation. Sweet, bitter and astringent herbs tend to be cooling.
Traditional ‘hot’ or ‘heating’ remedies, often containing spice ingredients like capsaicin, the gingerols (ginger), piperine (black or long pepper), curcumin (turmeric) or the sulfurous isothiocyanates from mustard, horseradich or wasabi, generate warmth when taken. In modern times this might translate as thermogenic and circulatory stimulant effects. There is evidence of improved tissue blood flow with such remedies: this would lead to a reduction in build-up of metabolites and tissue damage. Heating remedies were used to counter the impact of cold, reducing any symptoms made worse in the cold. .
Mucilages are complex carbohydrate based plant constituents with a slimy or ‘unctuous’ feel especially when chewed or macerated in water. Their effect is due simply to their physical coating exposed surfaces. From prehistory they were most often used as wound remedies for their soothing and healing effects on damaged tissues. Nowadays they are used more for these effects on the digestive lining, from the throat to the stomach, where they can relieve irritation and inflammation such as pharyngitis and gastritis. Some of the prominent mucilaginous remedies like slippery elm, aloe vera and the seaweeds can be used as physical buffers to reduce the harm and pain caused by reflux of excess stomach acid. Mucilages are also widely used to reduce dry coughing. Here the effect seems to be by reflex through embryonic nerve connections: reduced signals from the upper digestive wall appear to translate as reduced activity of airway muscles and increased activity of airway mucus cells. Some seed mucilages, such as in psyllium seed, flaxseed (linseed) or guar bean survive digestion to provide bulking laxative effects in the bowel. These can also reduce rate of absorption of sugar and cholesterol. .
New-mown hay aroma
The familiar country odour of haymaking, of drying grass and other plants, is largely produced by coumarins (originally isolated from tonka beans – in French coumarou) and widely used in perfumery. They are chemically categorised as benzopyrone lactones and are important phytochemicals, with strong antioxidant activity in the laboratory and likely effects in modulating inflammation. They were most often associated with the calming effect linked to their use in stuffing mattresses and pillows and plants, high In coumarins were commonly used for these properties.
Resins are most familiar as tacky discharges from pine trees (and as the substance in amber, and rosin for violin bows). They were most valued however as the basis of ancient commodities like frankincense and myrrh (two of the three gifts of the Three Wise Men to the baby Jesus) and getting access to their source was one benefit to Solomon for marrying the Queen of Sheba (now Ethiopia). Resins were the original antiseptic remedies, ground and applied as powders or pastes to wounds or inflamed tissues, and were also used for mummification. With alcohol distillation it was found that they could be dissolved in 90% alcohol and in this form they remain a most powerful mouthwash and gargle, for infected sore throats and gum disease. They never attracted much early research interest because they permanently coat expensive glassware! For use in the mouth, gums and throat hey are best combined with concentrated licorice extracts to keep the resins in suspension and add extra soothing properties. It appears that they work both as local antiseptics and by stimulating white blood cell activity under the mucosal surface. They feel extremely effective!
The salty flavour is immediately distinctive. A grain dropped onto the tongue is instantly moistening and a sprinkle on food enkindles digestion. This easily recognisable flavour has its receptors right at the front of the tongue. The salty flavor creates moisture and heat, a sinking and heavy effect which is very grounding for the nervous system and encourages stability. People who are solid and reliable become known as ‘the salt of the earth'.
The sharp taste of some fruits, and almost all unripe fruits, as well as vinegar and fermented foods, is produced by weak acids (the taste is generated by H+ ions from acids stimulating the sour taste buds). Sour taste buds are hard-wired to generate immediate reflex responses elsewhere in the body. Anyone who likes the refreshing taste of lemon or other citrus in the morning will know that one reflex effect is increased saliva production. Other effects are subjective rather than confirmed by research but there is a consistent view that they include increased digestive activity and contraction of the gallbladder.
In the days when most people never tasted sugar, ‘sweetness’ was associated with the taste of basic foods: that of cooked vegetables, cereals and meat. In other words sweet was the quality of nourishment, and ‘tonic’ remedies. Describing a remedy as sweet generally led to that remedy being used in convalescence or recovery from illness. Interestingly, the plant constituents most often found in classic tonics like licorice, ginseng are plant steroids including saponins, which also have a sweet taste.

Sign up to our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the very latest in herbal insights.

Sign up to our newsletter