Shen Nong the chinese god of herbology would have known the benifits of hemp for sure according to this history
Archaeologists all agree that hemp was one of the first known plant species to be purposely cultivated and the only one cultivated to be dioecious (having separate male and female plants).
The origin of hemp is thought to be in Central Asia (Kazakistan, Pakistan, Nepal, the Kashmir region of India, and the Tibetan region of China) -- two regions in particular: in the Mesopotamian Valley between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (present day Iraq) and, at the same time, in the Huang He (Yellow River) valley in China. Hemp spread from its native habitat toward the west in two directions. One route led through the Russian lowland plains to Scandinavia, extending to Poland, Germany, and the Baltic region. This distribution included the Carpathian Mountains and as far as the Danube River delta. This is where the northern and central Russian geographical race of hemp originated. The other route led through Asia Minor to the Mediterranean countries and into the provinces of the Roman Empire (Illyria, Gallia, and Hispania). From there, the southern Mediterranean ecological group originated, which encompassed southern Russia, Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Italy, and Spain. In central and northern Europe, hemp was introduced by the Slavs.
Artifacts recovered from sites in China indicate hemp was cultivated since the remote beginnings of agriculture settlements and used for making textiles as well as for food and medicine and fibers for weapons. Chinese military were given the upper hand when they discovered that hemp fibers provided much stronger bowstrings than bamboo. As a result, hemp was the first agricultural war crop. Chinese royalty set aside large portions of land exclusively to cultivating hemp for this purpose. Called the ‘land of hemp and mulberry’, China prized the mulberry because it was the food of the silkworm and hemp because it was what everyone used everyday (food and oil from the seed, cordage from the fiber, stitching, textiles, and clothing from the stalk, medicinal concoctions from the female flowers, and fertilizer when the leaves were returned to the earth to rebuild the soil).
Although the earliest traces of hemp fabric have disappeared, archeological research reveals that hemp cords were twisted together and imprinted on the sides of pottery dating back 12,000 year
Tibetans domesticate Cannabis sativa and use it for making string and cloth. This was likely invented by females since the development is virtually simultaneous with the invention of heddles (the parallel cords used to guide warp threads in a loom). Tibetans still use hempseed in buttered tea.
Pen Tsao, a Chinese medical book is written by the Emperor Chen Nung ( Shen Nung), who classifies hemp as one of the “Superior Elixirs of Immortality”. Even today, Chinese herbalists often prescribe hemp seeds to nourish the yin (feminine), constipation in the elderly, “blood deficiencies”, and during recuperation from febrile diseases. In Chinese medicine, hemp seeds fall under the categories of sweet, neutral, and clearing heat, operating through the channels of the stomach, large intestine, and the spleen.
The Shu Kin has several instructions regarding hemp.
In China, the oldest agricultural treatise is the Xia Xiao Zheng and thought to have been written around this time period. It names hemp as one of the main crops that grew -- along with millet, wheat, beans, and rice. The Chinese developed hemp into scrolls, which also brought about the world’s first paper industry.
Records from a Chou Dynasty state banquet show that boiled hemp seeds were served in cereal dishes.
The oldest remnants of fabric are made from hemp and come from a burial site in China dated to this time period. Long before this time though, the Chinese had discovered that twisting the strands made it stronger, which led to the discovery of spinning and weaving fibers into cloth. This ended the reliance on animal skins as the sole material for clothing. The ancient Chinese also used hemp for making shoes.
In China, practises of the traditional belief system called Wu Fu begin. Wu Fu literally means “Five Clothes” or the Five Levels of Mourning. All levels involve hemp and embodies the belief that all people are expected to conform, especially when it involved the patriarch of the family. Such conformities depended on how closely one was related to the departed. It also prescribed punishments for those who failed to follow the prescribed rituals. For instance, if the departed was a father or husband (the first level and closest one), the survivor was expected to wear coarse, unhemmed hemp clothing, hemp sandals, hemp head-dress, and carry a hemp stalk for 27 months. The punishment for non-compliance is not stated, but it was likely severe. The second level involved the passing of a grandfather, brother, or direct uncle. These relatives were expected to to wear coarse hemmed hemp clothing, hemp head-dress, hemp sandals, and carry a hemp mourning staff for one year. At the fifth level, for a distant uncle or in-law, one would wear hemp fabric with a silky finish for three months. White is considered to be the color of mourning, not only in China, but in other Asian countries as well. Even today, family and friends will wear white hemp fabric collars during mourning.
The Li Qui, an early Chinese manuscript of social ritual, describes hemp as one of the “five grains” of China. The others included barley, rice, wheat, and soybeans.
A paper sample, discovered near Xian in China, is dated to this time period. It contains hemp fibers and is probably the oldest paper in the world. This fragment was likely produced with a floating sieve, from which the dip sieve was developed. Eventually, the bast fibers from the mulberry tree became the most important raw material for paper.
Li Shi Chen (1573-1620 CE), the compiler of the most extensive Chinese Materia Medica, called Pen T’sao Kang Mu, states that a gruel made from hemp seeds would produce very strong calming effects. Li provides a balance of the available knowledge while clarifying matters that had remained in debate or that had never been carefully considered before. From the mass of information he acquired, it is obvious that in ancient times some varieties of hemp were readily distinguishable, even though ma zi (hemp-seed plant) grew throughout the country. One variety, which produced seeds the size of garden peas, was held to be of "the highest quality." It had originated on Mao Luo Island in the Eastern Sea where the seeds it bore were as large as lotus seeds. A large section of this great pharmacopoeia was devoted exclusively to hempseed and classified it as a ‘superior’ or higher type of medicine, inherently nontoxic and suitable for long-term use. It was said to have a "calming" influence on the physiology.
The Pen T’sao states that hempseed will “aid in the growth of the body’s muscle fiber…[and] increase the flow of mother’s milk,” and that “it can be used to hasten childbirth, where the delivery is troubled with complications or is overdue.” It also states "The Ancients used this medicine to remain fertile, strong and vigorous . . ." Quoting books even older, the Pen T’sao proclaims that whole hempseed is useful “to mend and help all of the central areas and benefit the chi [life force].”
One of the more interesting recipes in this Pen T'sao is found with the self-explanatory title of "Formula to Build Up an Age-Enduring Supply of Beneficial Qi" (Nai Lao Yi Qi). Taken to alleviate hunger for long periods of time, the formula consisted of hemp seed (2 liters) and soybeans (1 liter) boiled together and then fried slowly "until they become a dried powder." The powder was rolled in honey as a binder and made into pills to be taken twice a day. The most recent English translation of this section reveals precious formulas used for centuries by common folk and royalty alike. The complete text is certain to become a treasured contribution to many important facets of current hemp research.
In Japan, warriors during the feudal age often used balls of gound hempseed and brown rice gluten to keep them strong during war. Hempseed still remains in the Japanese diet and can be found on tables of Asian restaurants around the world in such forms as shichimi, used for seasoning, and asanomi, a tofu burger with hempseed pressed into it.http://www.innvista....emp/history.htm
Edited by kaiselin, 16 May 2008 - 10:28 PM.