There is a growing interest in hempseed oil in India. Hempseed oil or hemp oil has numerous health benefits, and is especially beneficial for the skin because of its vitamin content, moisturizing qualities and anti-aging properties.
Hemp oil is harvested by cold-pressing hemp seeds (as distinct from cannabidiol oil, which is an extract of the cannabis plant and made from hemp flowers and leaves). It is a clear green oil with a nutty flavour. It does not contain the psychoactive component THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
According to Stuti Ashok Gupta, Principal, Brand & Vision, Amrutam, an Ayurvedic lifestyle brand, hemp oil alleviates skin dryness and controls dandruff. In addition, application of oils containing hemp calms the brain and improves sleep. “We have a one-of-a-kind product – Kuntal Care Hair Spa with Hemp – which also has Brahmi, Balcchad and Shankhpushpi. The hemp adds a natural shine to hair and prevents dandruff along with improving blood circulation and calming the mind,” says Stuti.
Cosmetics companies are looking for new formulations that add an edge to their products, notes Karan Bhaskar, Skincare & Makeup Consultant, Clinique India. “Hemp seed oil is gaining popularity as a natural skin remedy. An excellent source of Omega 3 & 6, hemp seed oil helps to lock in skin moisture. It has anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent treatment for acne, eczema, psoriasis, and blackheads,” he says.
Prashansa Shahani, Founder, Hemis, a Hyderabad-based exotic natural lifestyle brand which works exclusively with hemp, says her husband Varun, who co-founded Hemis with her, researched medical uses of marijuana when his grandmother was diagnosed as being in the final stage of cancer. “We stumbled across hemp, imported a few products and loved them. We decided to bring hemp home to India,” she says.
Prashansa corroborates that hemp seed oil is extremely beneficial for hair, skin and health in general. Not only is it highly nutritious, it is also said to reduce risks of illnesses like Alzheimer’s Disease, cardio-vascular ailments, diabetic neuropathy, inflammation, etc, according to her. “Our hair tonic brings you the umpteen benefits of hempseed oil. It calms any irritation in the scalp and deeply conditions and nourishes dull, dry, lacklustre hair. It stimulates hair growth, prevents hair fall, breakage, frizz and split-ends,” she says. Prashansa says hempseed oil is perfect for most skin types as it is non-comedogenic (does not clog pores. It can be used directly or as a carrier oil.
According to Dr Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, “Hemp oil has an insane amount of health benefits if used with caution and in the right quantity as suggested by the doctor and various studies have proven that it contributes to heart health.”
Hemp for hair
The complex physiology, structure and mechanism of hair, along with genetic mutation and changing lifestyle, is making hair care a growing challenge for practitioners of various systems of medicine. Hempseed oil is being increasingly seen as a saviour for hair-related issues. Though the long-term effects of hemp oil are yet to be conclusively researched, it has been proven to keep hair healthy and reduce hair fall. “I believe that topical application produces 60% benefits, while consuming hemp seeds gives 40% result, including flawless hair,” says Supritha Ramesh, Director, Sash Products, an organic hair care brand.
Increases Hair Density and Volume: Hemp oil contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which are beneficial to hair. They increase the diameter of each hair strand, making the hair thicker and stronger.
Reduces Alopecia: Hemp seed oil is rich in antioxidants which rejuvenate the scalp and promote growth of new hair, thus reducing alopecia.
Prevents Scalp Inflammation: Scalp inflammation is a major cause of hair fall. The Omega 3 fatty acids in hempseed oil reduce inflammation and other scalp issues, specially dandruff, eczema and dermatitis.
Moisturizes Hair: Hempseed oil has Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in a characteristic 3:1 ratio, which results in the oil forming a lubricant coating around each hair strand.
— Supritha Ramesh, Director, Sash Products, organic Hair care brand