Hemp (seeds), a Culinary and Medicinal Plant According to Hildegard

As the decriminalization of cannabis spreads throughout the United States, more sophisticated scientific resources reveal the many health benefits of hemp and hemp seeds.  A longstanding prohibition against industrial or medical use of cannabis contributes to an illusion that we’re just beginning to discover the healing properties of hemp.  

In fact, Hildegard of Bingen knew of this plant’s healing effects as early as the 12th century. And, up until the widespread criminalization of cannabis in the 20th century, hemp was generally accepted in many countries as a kind of universal medicine. 

hemp health benefits

Hemp, a healing plant with many health benefits

Like so many of the age-old remedies found in klosterheilkunde, modern science often seems to circle-back to early assertions. Today, we know of the plant’s pain-relieving and muscle-relaxing virtues.  In addition, we continue to learn more, such as the benefits cannabis seeds offer to a healthy diet.

Hildegard introduces hemp with the following words:

“The hemp is warm, and if the air is neither very warm nor very cold, it grows, and so is its nature and its seed contains healing power and it is beneficial for healthy people to eat and in their stomach it is light and useful, and it can be easily digested. It reduces the bad juices and makes the good juices strong.”

Apart from one of Hildegard’s favorite remedies, galangal, hemp or hemp seed is the only other plant that Hildegard expressly described with healing power in her writings.

Hemp seeds for nutrition, a healthy superfood

Hemp seed contains alpha linoleic acid and the rare gamma linoleic acid. Linoleic acid helps to lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Also, present in balanced proportions, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids known to offer protection from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune deficiencies.

Hemp seeds benefits

Hemp seeds, a great addition for the kitchen

With a bright green color, gently cold-pressed hemp seeds yield a valuable edible oil that tastes somewhat nutty and contains about 90 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids. In the kitchen, hemp oil works as a salad dressing and improves other cold dishes. Typically, the hemp varieties used to make edible oils contain very low THC content, resulting in little or no cognitive impairment.

Hemp seeds are also available as raw, peeled seeds. They taste mild, nutty and can be used in many ways, including in smoothies, shakes, or sprinkled over salads. A homemade hemp butter from peeled hemp seeds, as a spread, is a culinary delicacy.

Hemp Seeds Benefits

Hemp seeds are easily digestible and contain all 9 essential amino acids in amounts close to the complete proteins found in animal protein, buckwheat, and soy products. 

In addition, cannabis seeds contain a considerable amount of arginine, which supports a strong heart and nervous system.  Besides cannabis seeds, arginine otherwise appears only in nuts and soybeans

More protein in hemp seeds

Though small in size, hemp seeds possess significant nutrient content. 30 grams of peeled seeds contain about 7 grams of easily digestible protein (edestin and albumin); slightly more than a large hen’s egg.

hemp seeds nutrition

Hemp seeds support healthy nutrition and high in protein

The vegetable protein Edestin resembles serum globulin (blood plasma), which helps in the production of antibodies against harmful germs. Albumin eliminates free radicals in the body and therefore offers good protection for our cells. 

30 grams of hemp seeds contain about 10 grams of healthy fats and almost 8 grams of fiber.

Vitamins and hemp seeds

Hemp seeds contain many more vitamins and minerals, including the following.

  • Vitamin E
  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • iron
  • zinc
  • an incredible amount of protein
  • antioxidants
  • arginine
  • high content of vitamin B2 (B2 ensures an “anti-stress effect”)

In addition, and as mentioned above, hemp seeds also possess the following attributes.

  • all 9 of the essential amino acids, i.e. those which the body needs and cannot produce itself
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in a balanced ratio
  • the rare gamma linoleic acids

Omega-3 fatty acids and hemp seeds

Omega-6 fatty acids appear commonly in our modern diets, characterized by fast food and processed products. Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand show-up in fresh foods and high-quality edible oils. Our effort to avoid processed foods includes cheap oils often stretched with low-quality sunflower oil (that has not been cold-pressed).  

how to eat hemp seeds

Hemp seeds contain important omega-3 fatty acid

Interestingly, significant correlations appear between a diets low in omega-3 fatty acids and increased incidence of depression. Since our brains consist of more than 90 percent fat cells, essential fatty acids play a vital role in mental health. In addition, patterns of dietary deficiency omega-3 fatty acids appears to contribute to increased incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease in the second half of the twentieth century.

Linoleic acid and hemp seeds

Hemp seed contains alpha linoleic acid and the rare gamma linoleic acid. Gamma linoleic acid is particularly healthy. It appears in a small cross section of foods, resulting in most of us getting infrequent exposure to this valuable linoleic acid. 

Borage seed oil and hemp seed oil demonstrate considerable amounts of gamma linoleic acid. It is also found in other Hildegard medicine plants, including black currants, evening primrose oil, pomegranate seed oil and spirulina.

Linoleic acid and hemp seeds

Spirulina (image) and hemp seed oil are high in linoleic acid

Exercise nuts also stand to benefit from hemp seeds, as they tend to contribute energy, increase testosterone levels, and accelerate muscles development. The small muscle fiber tears, which occur during training, heal faster using hemp seed oil, and the muscle regenerates with the help of vitamin E content.

Hildegard Reminds of Balance and Discretio!

Hemp seeds contain considerable levels of arginine, which accelerates the build-up of muscle mass.  Athletes often consume arginine as dietary supplements for strength enhancement.  However, foods containing considerable amounts of arginine, such as nuts, chocolate and hemp seeds, may also stimulate the development of herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2.

Eating too much arginine-rich food, can advance herpes outbreaks. If such an outbreak becomes noticeable, zinc serves as a useful remedy, when consumed as a food supplement 25 milligrams daily. In case of an acute outbreak, consider a slight dosage increase for a few days. 

Balancing effects of too much arginine

With a herpes outbreak, eliminate triggering foods immediately from the diet. Also, consider boosting your diet with zinc-rich foods, such as liver, cereals, spelt grains or oysters. The human body absorbs zinc from animal protein sources better than the zinc available in plants. Spelt grains represent an exception. 

Hemp seeds contribute to healing, but too much of the good can be harmful. Hildegard emphasizes the importance of balance and discretion (“discretio”).

Making Hemp Butter at Home

Make hearty hemp butter quickly and easily using a blender and peeled hemp seeds.


  • 30 grams of peeled hemp seeds                                             
  • 50 grams butter
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, fresh or dried
  • galangal
  • sea salt
  • Blue Fenugreek, ground
  • Coriander, ground
  • Geranium spice mixture, ground
  • Garlic to taste


1. place and mix all ingredients together in a blender

2. fill into small seal-able jars and consume promptly

Hemp milk recipe with hemp seeds


– 15 grams hemp seeds, peeled                                                        

– Rice milk or spelt milk

– raspberries

hemp milk raspberries

Hemp milk with raspberries


1. purée hemp seeds in a mixer with a little vegetable milk

2. pour the combination through a sieve

3. bring raspberries to the boil briefly

4. crush raspberries with a fork or puree in a blender

5. mix hemp seed milk and raspberries and, according to taste, fill up with rice milk

6. the hemp seed milk is kept refrigerated for about two to three days

Shake with green hemp leaf powder


– 1 heaped teaspoon hemp leaf powder

– a few drops of cold pressed edible hemp oil

– Rice milk, almond milk or spelt milk

– possibly some fresh apple juice, cherry juice, or fresh raspberry juice

Alternatively: wring some spinach leaves briefly, puree well in the blender and add to the shake! This shake then completely replaces a meal.


Mix all ingredients with a spoon directly in the glass.

Hemp oil and CBD

Do not confuse the CBD-rich hemp extract oil with the ordinary hemp oil, which is commercially available as edible oil and is obtained from hemp seeds, i.e. not from hemp flowers. Hemp oil has a nutty taste and is used in the kitchen as a healthy edible oil.

hemp oil

Hemp oil

However, hemp extract oil can also contain hemp seed oil, namely as a base oil into which the hemp extract is mixed. Ultimately, this oil mixture results in a hemp extract oil with different concentrations. 

CBD – hemp extract oil for health complaints

Hemp extract oil is the extract from the hemp flower. It is diluted with high-quality oil and can thus be taken drop by drop or applied topically. CBD oil uses 5 to 8 percent hemp extract oil and possesses interesting qualities. For example, it can be used to calm nervous tension and anxiety, or as a side effect free pain reliever for chronic pain, such as symptoms associated with arthritis. For best results, CBD oil should not contain THC. 

Hemp oil for health conditions

Hemp oil may improve the following health conditions:

– Inflammation

– stress

– mild migraine headaches

– anxiety disorders

– Dependence on THC, alcohol, nicotine, sleeping pills 

– Pain

– epilepsy

– circulatory problems

– antioxidative cell protection, CBD hemp oil is a potent radical scavenger!

– Allergies

In the case of chronic pain disorders, the focus should of course not only be on pain relief, but also on the causal problem. Therefore, although hemp extract can be used for chronic pain, it is best to use it together with holistic measures that help to support the entire body in the fight against the disease in question.

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