Chapter 6 - Cannabis: How Each Plant Part Can Be Used (Vijaya Charita with Vikramm Mitra)
We have ample evidence to reciprocate that cannabis has been used by us for thousands of years! Interestingly, we have also been able to gather enough data through modern research that this plant can be useful in a variety of ways, right from the roots, to its seeds, and the flower. So, why as a society, are we still neglecting what this plant can do to not only support us via the medicines it provides, but also make our lives more comfortable and is yet so environment friendly!
I had a word regarding this with Vikramm and there he was again, waving the magical wand of amusing information about this sacred plant, and making me understand how it is so rooted with the knowledge that we inherit as a part of our culture.
Vikramm: “There is no denying from the naked truth that cannabis can change the way we look at sustainable development in today’s time. As a culture, we have always been dependent on not just this, but numerous plants for various purposes. However, this divine plant is special! Well, I have had the opportunity to know a lot about cannabis from the mountains and villages across India, and how people have relied on it. It is quite interesting to know that each and every part of this plant can be taken advantage of!”
Used In Treating Pain During Menstruation
Vikram: "One of the most fascinating things that I got to know about this plant was that it is used during menstruation. How? You see, in villages women make use of the fresh plant matter like the flowering tops, the leaves, and the seeds to make a poultice. They take the mixture, and tie it in a muslin cloth so that it can be used as tampons. Furthermore, they would heat this mixture and let it cool down for a bit, until it can be inserted in the vaginal area. We have always known that it actually helps in the contraction and relaxation of the muscle area in and around the vaginal and pelvic area, which in turn, assists in treating menstrual cramps.
We also know that modern research has enlightened us with the fact that cannabis can be used as a painkiller. The plant contains compounds like THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) which comes in handy while treating chronic pain as well. There certainly is some evidence to prove that this plant can be used in joint pain, non-migraine headaches, and spasticity too!
Cannabis mixture containing the leaves, seeds and flowers are also used to treat diarrhoea when it is taken orally in the form of a paste. This arrests the immediate effect of diarrhea and helps in retaining the lost water as well. In ayurvedic medicines, this plant has been immensely used to treat diarrhoea, typhoid, and malaria as it also assists in regulating the body temperature. Besides, this plant is also used to help in the digestion process and bowel movements!”
The Roots Put To Use
Pertaining to the cannabis roots, it is the least understood and talked about, leave alone misunderstanding the other parts of the plant. It has never been deeply looked into, even though it is filled with medicinal properties. Here is what Vikram had to say on this:
“The cannabis roots are said to be anti-inflammatory that decreases inflammation. As a matter of fact, the indigenous people of Malana use this to counter the effect of THC and other intoxicants. There is a high-content of CBG and CBD in the roots that works. It comes from their belief that if there is poison in the flower, there is also an antidote to negate its effects, in most of the plants. They take out the poison from a plant to smear it in the arrows and also make use of its roots to make an anti-dote during emergencies. People in the villages know about such stuff because they live in remote jungles and make use of what is around them. They consider nature as their home.
On top of this, it is said that hemp roots also have pain-alleviating properties and were also used in gonorrhea. A research paper in 1957 based out of the USA had also cited that the roots were helpful in treating hemorrhoids, skin abrasions, rashes, and as sedatives as well. Recent studies show that the roots have phenolic amides that make this plant contain insecticidal, cyto-toxic, anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic, cardiovascular, and mild analgesic properties. Not only this, but the roots have several minerals and nutrients that can support liver, nerve, and brain health.”
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Use Of The Leaves
Cannabis leaves are used in various complications too! Vikram said: “A lot of cannabis grows around wild shrubs in Himachal called “Bichu Ghas” (Himalayan Nettle). The reason? It’s because these shrubs, when they come in contact with the skin, produce a lot of itching and inflammation. So, if a person does encounter such a problem, people use the leaves of cannabis and rub them in the affected areas that not only reduce the inflammation but also help in reducing the uncomfortable itching sensations.
Furthermore, we all know that migraine pain is the worst! It feels as if someone is hammering your head continuously, for which, numerous painkillers are prescribed. Impressively, the tribal people in India, who have been the custodians of oral history through generations, have tackled this complication as well. Vikram went on to mention: “ The leaves of this plant have also been of great use to treat migraines and severe heachaches. What people do is that they take the fresh bhang leaves and grind them until they become a paste. Then they squeeze the juice out of this paste and use them as nasal sprays. This immediately reduces any discomfort or pain associated with migraine.
Additionally, it is very common among the indegenous people to use the leaves to kill insects and worms that enter the ear. Many times, people in villages come across situations where an insect enters the ear. As a consequence, they heat the fresh leaves of bhang and water, and continue to boil it until all water is lost into a dense liquid. They put a couple of these drops in the ear which not only makes the insect come out but also kills them as they cannot remain inside for a long period once the liquid comes into effect. This mixture can also be used to treat dandruff and lice issues that are more common with women. It deactivates the lice, moistens the skin, and nourishes the hair.
The Seeds Are a Help in Need
Vikramm says that the seeds are one of the most important parts of this plant as well used by the people in himachal and elsewhere for various purposes.
“It is common in Himachal, to feed the animals like goats with seeds as it helps them to survive the cold while grazing on top of the mountains. It is one of the staple ingredients for the people too. Hemp milk is also widely used by the locals to help them to regulate their body temperature. They also make chutneys and chapatis while taking their animals to graze, which solves their problem of food intake as well as energy, and because it has ani-bacterila properties, it does not become stale in the long run.
Amusingly, the seeds are a rich source of antioxidants, omega -3, and omega-6. The hemp seed oil aids to maintain a good balance of the ratio of the omega 3 and 6 needed by the body, which in turn, helps in producing omega 9 by the body!
With respect to the stems, we all know that fibre produced by hemp is known to be the strongest natural fibre. It is widely used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bio-plastic, insulation, and bio-fuel!”
Not only this, but a lot of research is going on to use hemp-crete as a replacement for concrete in the construction process. This not only acts as an insulator, but is also fire-resistant, and has the capacity to absorb carbon-dioxide from the surrounding!
We ourselves have been efficient in making biodegradable sanitary pads and cannspirator masks with a lot of benefits. Vikram mentioned with certitude that cannabis is surely a miracle plant and if enough research is done on it, we can change the global scenario with effective sustainable development plans!