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Cannabis sativa L. (hemp) has preserved the ancient artwork in India’s sacred Ellora Caves for 1500 years. The long life of earthen plaster of Ellora, despite damaging environmental parameters, may be attributed to the material properties of hemp which is fibrous and durable as studied through stereo and scanning electron microscope. The properties of Cannabis sativa (hemp) including its ability to repel insects and regulate humidity must have been known to the ancient Indian technicians in 6th CE. Moreover, Cannabis has an excellent carbon dioxide sequestering capacity and is green house negative and these properties were exploited by ancient Indians in cave murals of Ellora. The finding could be applied in future construction technology, as well as conservation of historical structures, where more sustainable materials are being sought. However, it would be illegal in places where Cannabis is banned. The numerous useful properties of hemp can also be exploited for several environmental friendly applications. This paper deliberates upon the utilization of this plant from the ancient period to its present use to regulate green house impact.
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Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge
Vol. 17(2), April 2018, pp. 314-321
The scope of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) use in Historical conservation in India
M Singh 1*, Divija Mamania2 & Vasant Shinde3
1National Museum Institute, Janpath, New Delhi-110 011, India;
2IITian’s Pace and Pace Junior Science College, Mumbai-400 028, India;
3Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, Pune-411 006, India
Received 22 September 2017, revised 11 December 2017
Cannabis sativa L. (hemp) has preserved the ancient artwork in Indias sacred Ellora Caves for 1500 years. The long
life of earthen plaster of Ellora, despite damaging environmental parameters, may be attributed to the material properties
of hemp which is fibrous and durable as studied through stereo and scanning electron microscope. The properties of
Cannabis sativa (hemp) including its ability to repel insects and regulate humidity must have been known to the ancient
Indian technicians in 6t h CE. Moreover, Cannabis has an excellent carbon dioxide sequestering capacity and is green house
negative and these properties were exploited by ancient Indians in cave murals of Ellora. The finding could be applied
in future construction technology, as well as conservation of historical structures, where more sustainable materials are
being sought. However, it would be illegal in places where Cannabis is banned. The numerous useful properties of hemp
can also be exploited for several environmental friendly applications. This paper deliberates upon the utilization of this plant
from the ancient period to its present use to regulate green house impact.
Keywords: Cannabis sativa L., Shiv, Greenhouse, Conservation
IPC Int. Cl.8: A61K 36/00, D01C, D07B 1/06, A01G 9/00, A01G 9/18, B41N 3/00
Cannabis is one of the oldest domestic plant in the
history of mankind, probably been utilized for more
than 10,000 years, i.e., from the stone Age1,2. The
Archaeologists of the Taiwanese site have discovered
pots belonging to this period, made of fibers that are
presumed to be from Cannabis plant. The Cannabis
sativa, commonly known as marijuana in America is
hemp plant distributed throughout the world. Hemp
grows easily in most climates and enriches poor soils
after every crop3. The plant is more commonly
identified today as potent psychoactive substance but
for many years it was harvested primarily for its
fibers. Owing to its fast growth in both temperate and
tropical climate, hemp has been used for centuries to
make variety of items such as rope, paper, clothing,
sails, etc. The fibrous strands of hemp are ideal for
fabric due to its increased durability over cotton.
Since pre-historic times, biotypes of Cannabis have
also been widely exploited for number of other
purposes. For example, seeds have been eaten and
crushed to produce oil for lamp or cooking. The
flowering heads and leaves produce resin that has
long been used as medicine or mind-altering substance
and the stem produces long durable fiber for textile,
rope, papers, etc.2. Among the various products, the
fibers derived from this plant have served as one of
the most important application for human through
the age4,5. Available data reveals that utilization of
plant fiber for cloth processing may be dated as early as
30,000 years ago6. Hemp cultivation spread to Asian
countries from China and it was adopted in India,
where it served a religious purpose. In Atherveda, one
of the oldest book of Hinduism, Cannabis has been
mentioned as one of the five sacred plants and
accordingly worshipped7. This recognized it as a plant
with the protection and reverence engendered by
cultural and religious acceptance.
The use of Cannabis for recreational and
intoxicating purpose later spread through Asia to
Europe. Despite many attractive features of plant, the
use of this drug did not catch fast in Europe. In fact,
widespread use of Cannabis for its psychoactive
properties in Europe did not occur until 1960 when it
was re-introduced by people and tourists from United
States8. However, after its introduction, the attention
focused on the medicinal value of Cannabis sativa
*Corresponding author
where its utility was discovered in the control and
management of chronic health problems such as
HIV/AIDS, cancer, cachexia, glaucoma, nausea and
vomiting, asthma, hypertension, etc.9-12.
Hemp is probably one of the plants whose utility
has been underestimated and thus abandoned due to
social belief attached to it. It is the purported negative
aspect of this commercial crop that has prevailed and
influenced its utilization.
Cannabis has long history of use for medical and
health purposes with the earliest documentation
attributed to Shen Nung in 28th century BC. Shen
Nung strongly recommended the use of Cannabis
sativa to people for medical benefits. Shen Nung, a
mythical Chinese emperor and pharmacist prescribed
use of Cannabis in his period in China for its sedative
properties in treating pain and illness, countering the
effect of evil spirit and for its psychoactive
The physical evidence about the use of this plant as
medicine was also uncovered by an Israeli Scientist
who found residue of Cannabis within the body of a
young woman who apparently died in child birth
1600 yrs ago. This discovery pointed towards the use
of the plant to speed birth process and to ease the
associated pain during delivery period in ancient time.
The intake of Cannabis has also been reported during
child birth previously in Egyptian papyri15.
There is recent resurgence in efforts to legalize
Cannabis sativa for medical purposes. Much of the
efforts are due to increasing use of marijuana by
AIDS patients who claim that cannabis reduce the
nausea and vomiting caused by the disease because it
stimulates appetite thus helping the patients to regain
weight loss during their illness. The sympathy for
these patients led to the establishment of ‘Cannabis
Club’ in several major cities in United States. These
organizations purchase marijuana in bulk and provide
them in some cases free of charge to the patients
suffering from AIDS, cancer and other diseases.
The Ancient Indian Hempcrete technology
Cannabis has played an important role in
preserving the precious artworks within the ancient
cave of Ellora16. Probably, ancient Indians technicians
were first in the world to practice hempcrete
technology, i.e., mixing of Bhang in clay/lime plaster
for construction. However, a small reference about
finding of hempcrete dating 6th century CE is reported
from under a bridge in France without any scientific
investigative studies. The use of hemp in construction
by ancient Indians in 6th century Ellora caves lost
almost 1500 yrs ago but now restored through the
recorded research16. Hemp is more durable and long
lasting compared to other type of vegetal fibers
identified mixed in earthen plaster and ancient Indians
exploited this property of the hemp in the cave
paintings of Ellora. Besides, hemp fibers are natural
insecticides and pesticides, retains heat, is water
proof, able to regulate moisture, sequester carbon
dioxide, non-toxic, fire resistance and have insulating
properties, able to absorb 90 % of the natural
noise17,18. All these properties of hemp were known to
the builders and inhabitants of Ellora Caves in 6th
century of our era. By mixing hemp in the earthen
plaster, the technicians created a very peaceful,
healthy, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing
environment for Buddhist monks /Priest at Ellora.
Indians used hempcrete technology (mixing of hemp
with binder like lime, cement, clay, etc.) not only in
ancient cave murals of Ellora dating back from 6th
century CE to 11th century CE but also in the massive
Daulatabad fort lime plaster work19. It seems that the
technology of mixing hemp in the earthen/lime plaster
passed from Ellora to nearby Daulatabad fort, situated
just 15 km South of Ellora caves and dateable to the
period 13th century CE to 16th century CE. In India,
due to Narcotic and Psychotropic Substance Act,
1985 (NDPS act), the use of Cannabis locally named
as Bhang is banned for all other activities except
scientific research and medicine. The application of
hemp in construction works in European countries
started gaining popularity 1990 onwards due to its
unique characteristics of regulating humidity and
absorbing carbon dioxide, specifically in cold
regions20,21. In 2011, the United State of America built
first house using hempcrete (
archives/124800) but unfortunately media concentration
was more towards its narcotic properties rather than
its unique features. In Russia, the solitary properties
of hemp were known for long time as hemp was the
main item of Russian export. But the most ancient
example of hemp is reported from a tomb in China
where it was found stored in a wooden pot22.
Presently, the main producers of Industrial hemp are
France, Canada and China. Many other countries
including India continue to fear its criminal
application and abuse which is traditionally associated
with the cultivation of hemp with damaged reputation.
However, it is the time to stress on increasing its
production in all countries under strict control for
industrial applications due to hosts of environmentally
friendly reasons. Furthermore, hemp is a fast-growing
plant and when compared with other available crops,
it is less dependent on the regional variations of
climate change, soil quality, nutrients and specifically
irrigation. The availability of water, the relative
high level of sun light and heat provide
adequate environmental conditions for the seasonal
growth of Cannabis.
Materials and methods
The Ellora caves are located at 20°1’25.61”N,
75010’45.86”E near a village locally named as Verul,
and situated at a distance of 30 km to the North-west
of Aurangabad city (Fig. 1). They were originally
known as Elur and Elapura due to their location near
the Elaganga river which originates from the nearby
hills. The Ellora caves were declared a world heritage
site in 1983. There are 34 caves at Ellora spread in an
area of about 2 km North to South and represent three
religions of India i.e. Buddhism, Hinduism and
Jainism. The caves at Ellora are splendid example of
rock cut architecture that also contains some very
beautiful mural arts executed on the mud/ lime plaster
ground on basaltic rock support (Fig. 2). The designs
of mural art at Ellora represent floral and creeper
pattern, other geometrical shapes, fine jewelers design
and human and animal figures. The color of the
paintings is dull and insipid due to burning of fire in
the past inside the caves and deposition of soot and
charring of paintings.
The paintings have been located on the chiseled out
basaltic rock walls. The preparation of ground within
the living body of the rock at Ellora, leveling away
the irregularity in the rock, preparation and mounting
of earthen plaster have very well been researched
now1. Only a handful of work describes the technique
of rock cutting in the ancient buildings and caves. An
attempt has been made to explain the process of rock
cutting in the caves of northern India23,24. The method
of drawing and marking on the rock before starting
the excavation required sizes and shapes by the
craftsmen with the help of variety of tools and
training of the technicians25. Rock cutting architecture
has also been studied by several other scholars
in India26,27.
The addition of vegetal fibers as an additive in
Indian mud/ lime plaster varied from site to site and
depends on the availability in its vicinity. Jute fibers
are observed as additive in the lime plaster works of
Indian monuments of Hampi, Bidar fort, etc. Rice
husk has been detected as organic additives in the
famous cave murals of Ajanta28, Pithalkhora29, Karle
Caves30, and Bhaja caves31, all situated in western
India. The favored method of executing wall murals
of Ellora was to level the basaltic rock surface with
mud/lime plaster and paint them. Two layers of
earthen plasters to basaltic rock walls, each with its
own function and characteristics have been applied
(Fig. 3). The first is a leveling layer with thickness
that solely depends on the topography of the wall. For
this layer soil from water fall point usually
comprising mixture of coarse to fine basaltic
Fig. 1 — The general view of Ellora caves
Fig. 2 Showing beautiful murals of Ellora caves
Fig. 3 Showing two layers of earthen plasters
aggregates and low content of clay was sourced and
mixed with lime, proteinaceous adhesive and vegetal
Complete Cannabis plant was found added in this
layer to improve its properties and stop cracking
during drying (Fig. 4). The upper plaster layer above
the inner layer is also from the same source of soil but
appears to have slightly more addition of finer sand
particles and hemp. This modification has allowed
thinner application (2-5 mm) and smoother finish. But
this stratigraphy of plaster is not consistent throughout
the caves of Ellora and at many places only a single
layer of more refined light grey color clay plaster is
present with thickness that depends on the topography
of the surface.
The sample for investigation was collected from
cave No. 12 which is remarkably a three storied
structure. The sample was observed in the laboratory
under the magnifying lens, stereo zoom microscope,
compound microscope and under scanning electron
microscope. After investigation, it was confirmed that
the sample collected from cave No.12 contains
abundant pounded pieces of shoots, fragmented leaves
and single male flower.
From the laboratory investigation and through
literature survey it was concluded that the plant
specimen utilized in ancient plaster was tentatively
Cannabis sativa. For the confirmation of this
conclusion, the vegetal fibers were also compared
with the modern day specimen of Cannabis sativa
stored in the herbarium of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
Marathwada University, Aurangabad.
The following instrumental techniques were used
for the identification and characterization of the plant
Scanning Electron Microscope: The dried
specimen was directly placed on the stubs and putter
coated with gold using a SPI-MODULE sputter
coater. The samples were examined and photographed
under EDAX model-JEOI-SEM 6360.
Light Microscope Examination: The pounded
piece of shoots were examined and measured with a
calibrated ocular micrometer and photographed under
a LABOMED vision 2000 Madstar light microscope.
Stereo Microscope Examination: the flower and
leaves were examined and photographed under an
Olympus Magnus MSZ and LABOMED CSM2
stereo microscope.
For comparative studies fresh specimen of
Cannabis sativa collected from Jalana (Pardeshi 3732)
and Delhi city (Sardesai 1500) was used in this study.
Results and discussion
Hemp is mentioned in Roman literature from
around 11 BC indicating the plant was grown in what
is now known as southern Europe. Research on the
past history of the hemp revealed that it was probably
utilized more than 10000 years ago2, 32.
In India, Hemp domestication dates back to 5000-
4000 BC33. It was cultivated for various purposes
including use of its fibers from its stem, edible
food/oil from its achene, medicine, psychoactive
substance from its resin glands. The medicinal use of
Cannabis was first recorded in India in the medical
work Sushrita complied around 1000 BC1, 34. Also
the mention of Cannabis in the Indian literature such
as “Tajnighuntu and “Rajbulubha” states that it is
used in the treatment of clearing phlegm, expelling
flatulence, inducing costiveness, sharpening memory,
increasing eloquence, as an appetite stimulant, for
treatment of gonorrhea and also as a general tonic1,34.
Moreover, for Hindu’s Cannabis is a holy plant
associated with the Lord Shiva and widely
worshipped in the form of Shiva- Lingam in India by
millions of devotees.
The hemp hurds, the basic of Cannabis consists of
cellulose polymeric chain aligned by micro fibrils.
They are linked to each other by lignin, pectin and
hemicelluloses. The strength of the fibers is mostly
provided by hydrogen bond between different
chemical compounds (http:/
ncnu02/v5-284.html). The stalk of the hemp plant
consists of fibers (soft and flexible) and hurds (rigid
and hard). The processing of the Cannabis sativa
results in three basic components namely shives or
hurds (62 %), plant fibers (35 %) and seed and dust
with particle size less than 0.5µ (4 %) by weight.
Hemp is an environmental friendly plant and does not
require pesticides/ herbicides to grow. Moreover, it
can easily grow in most weather conditions of
the world, is acid free and unlikely to deteriorate
Fig. 4 Cannabis
found mixed in the earthen plaster of
Ellora cave No. 12
over time. Hemp is also resistant to rodents, fungus
any many other weeds. Further, the dead plant
residue acts as manure for soil and enhances
its fertility.
The composition and properties of each of its
components is responsible for its thermal stability,
resistance to ultra violet radiation and biodegradation.
Hemp hurds are also low density, light weight
materials which also exhibit mechanical strength
The significant advantage of the hemp is that it is
green house negative as it absorbs more carbon
dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces in its
life cycle- thereby reversing the impact of global
warming primarily owing to its high cellulose content
of almost 85 %. It has experimentally been observed
that 1000 kg of hemp can sequester approximately
1500 kg of carbon dioxide.
Cannabis sativa was found mixed in the mud/ lime
plaster of Ellora caves during the course of
observation of the painted plaster with the help of
hand held magnifying lens. In the earthen plaster, the
whole plant was found mixed along with its roots,
stem, leaves and fruits. In the lime plaster works at
Ellora caves, it was found added after beating the
stem and collecting the inner whitish hurd for mixing
in plaster works. Cannabis sativa in the mud plaster
of Ellora caves was identified due to the presence
of parenchymatous tissue under stereo- microscope
(Fig. 5).
The structure of the ancient plant was compared
with a fresh specimen of Cannabis sativa collected
from Jalna, about 60 km East of Aurangabad city and
fresh plant collected from the outskirt of the Delhi
city. The fresh specimens are now kept in botany
department herbarium of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar
Marathwada University, Aurangabad. The similar
looking non-granular as well as sessile trichomes
in the ancient Cannabis plant confirmed its
presence in the plaster of Ellora caves (Fig. 6). The
parenchymatous tissue is conical, curved, simple with
warty surface inclined towards the leaf apex at
various angles. The sensible trichomes are globular,
light brown in color with smooth surface. These
trichomes are sparsely and uniformly distributed
along the abaxial epidermis.
Cannabis sativa is erroneously being believed in
the present time as a plant that causes deleterious
health problems including host of other controversies.
However, subsequent studies have indicated that this
plant, apart from being recognized as one of the five
sacred crops, has a lot of medicinal, recreational,
commercial and social applications. Medical
evidences have shown that it is very useful in
controlling several chronic diseases like HIV/AIDS,
cancer, asthma, glucoma, cachexia, hypertension,
depression, etc. However, further in-depth research is
required to utilize this wonderful plant for other
benefits to the humanities (
Cannabis has lot of uses commercially,
agriculturally, medically and socially. All parts of the
plant including leaves, stem and outer covering
are very useful. While the leaves are smoked
recreationally, the stem is known for its use in
producing the strongest rope and pot35. Ship builders
prefer to use Cannabis rope in ship sails. Evidences
have shown that hemp fiber was extensively utilized
in the production of cloth and pots. The hemp fibers
were also used for house building in South Africa but
no detailed investigation has been presented about it35.
The Cannabis sativa in India is also sometimes
consumed for recreational purposes as it is associated
Fig. 5
Showing tissue structures of (a) old and (b) fresh
specimen of Cannabis
Fig. 6
Stereo microscopic image of ancient and fresh specimen
of Cannabis
with the divine power, the Lord Shiva, according to
Hindu mythology. Besides, it is also being used for
shampoo and other cosmetic preparations now. In
addition, its cultivation is a lucrative business for the
farmers as it yields substantial revenue to producers
and marketers both locally and internationally.
Despite its widespread uses, the Indian hemp is
probably most maligned, misunderstood and hated
plant in the present time due to mindset of the public
about its mind-altering properties. The hatred is so
much spread all over the world that millions and
millions of dollars are being expended in
exterminating the production of this valuable crop.
Thousands of hectares of Indian crop of hemp farms
were destroyed; producers, marketers, distributors and
users of the Cannabis were prosecuted, persecuted
and jailed. Even the ordinary citizens who have no
knowledge about the utility of this plant were forced
to hate it by the society. Unfortunately, tobacco with
all its hazardous properties and being a major cause of
cancer and respiratory problems to the takers and
others who inhales its smoke is permitted for
utilization by the government and not considered
dangerous even today. The Government of India is
taking all possible steps to discourage the
consumption of tobacco still it is not regarded as
dangerous compared to Cannabis.
Hemp hurds can be combined with lime, clay,
cement and water in various proportions to form a
concrete like substance called hempcrete. The
significant advantage of hempcrete is that it can
sequester carbon dioxide from the living room areas
providing a healthy green house negative atmosphere
to live in. In the cold region in many countries where
temperature drops below zero degrees centigrade, the
people generally like to stay inside their home for a
longer duration. They also sometime burn firewood or
use room heater, etc. that facilitate increase in the
concentration of carbon dioxide inside the room.
Besides, cooking also contribute in increasing carbon
dioxide concentration inside the living area where
windows and doors are hardly opened due to severe
cold outside. This makes the room atmosphere quite
unhealthy and uncomfortable for longer stay.
However, if Cannabis sativa is mixed in clay/ lime/
cement plaster at the time of plastering the room, it
will absorb carbon dioxide and moisture and make the
room atmosphere pure, healthy and comfortable to
stay. The carbon dioxide and moisture absorbed by
the plant will be driven out when atmospheric
temperature increase in the surroundings. A 10 %
Cannabis mixed in the plaster is able to provide
required benefit for the comfortable stay of the
occupants. Moreover, mixing 10 % Cannabis in the
plaster also serves in term of saving our natural
resources besides improving the properties of the
plaster. The mixing of hemp in the plaster also helps
in keeping the house warm in the winter and cool in
the summer. This gives the house occupants a
comfortable and pleasing stay. Besides, Cannabis is a
strong insect repellant and termites may not enter the
room and damage wooden fixtures and furniture’s
used in the construction if cannabis is mixed in the
plaster. The mixing of 10 % Cannabis also saves the
cost of construction with enormous benefit as stated
above. Here, it is worth mentioning that 1990
onwards in the colder European regions Cannabis has
gained popularity in construction in the form of
mixing in cement/lime plasters. It is estimated that the
hempcrete has the potential to sequester
approximately 249 kg of carbon dioxide per ton of
hemp used. Hempcrete being thermally stable, make
the houses fire resistant to a certain level. It will also
reduce the cost of energy required to either heat or
cool the room. Besides, hemp fiber insulation has
exceptional sound absorbing property that can reduce
noise pollution for peaceful stay indoors. Even
hempcrete bricks which are fired and designed for use
in construction work impart greater benefits. For all
such application only stem or hurd of the plant are
required and that can be put in use without violating
the NDPS act. For country like India where use of
Cannabis is banned in any form, it will be advisable
to permit industrial and constructional use of the
hemp hurd for the betterment and good health of our
countrymen and also to save precious and limited
natural resources used in construction industries.
Further, the Indians were probably the first having
knowledge about the useful properties of the
Cannabis and its other benefits as reported from the
6th century CE Ellora caves, a World Heritage site.
The Cannabis sativa fibers are also found mixed in
13-16th century CE Daulatabad Fort, a nearby site
about 15 km from Ellora caves. This is specifically to
be mentioned that the cave murals of Ajanta (2nd
century BC to 5t h century CE), another World
Heritage site about 100 km from Ellora caves is
devoid of any inclusion of Cannabis sativa in
the earthen plaster36. The plaster has damaged
considerably due to insect activity mainly silver fishes
that thrive on the organic inclusion mostly rice husk
as they make hole in the soft plaster causing it to
loosen and subsequently fall in course of time. A
rough estimate says that at least 25 % of the Ajanta
painting has lost due to insect activity36. However, in
the cave murals of Ellora no insect activity was
noticed owing to inclusion of Cannabis sativa in
mud/lime mortar and the precious cave murals has
been saved from insect destruction.
The purpose of the present communication is to
make public aware about the ancient Indian
construction technology that has lost in the past. This
ancient Indian construction technology is now banned
under the fear of misuse of Cannabis for its narcotic
property. However, by the use of stem or hurd of
Cannabis that is not banned under NDPS act, the
hempcrete technology may be revived for its much
environmental friendly application.
Moreover, growing hemp around industrial and
polluting areas to sequester maximum carbon dioxide
will help to purify the surrounding environment.
Hemp can also be grown on large dividers of highway
and traffic congested areas in order to improve the air
quality of the surroundings.
A combination of carbon dioxide sequestration and
sound absorption (acoustic) property of the hemp
admixed with the lime and other materials can give a
superb product that can be used as sound barrier plus
carbon dioxide absorbent on the side of bridges and
congested road.
Our vast numbers of heritage structures have
beautiful decorative works executed with lime/ mud
plasters prepared as per ancient technology. Many of
these plaster works are showing signs of distress and
loss due to environmental conditions and human
activity. For better view of the monuments,
sometimes the visitors stand at particular points
within the ancient structure. Such point in a particular
ancient structure is thus always crowded compared to
other areas in the same structure. For many of the
painted monuments, the visitors have to stand in the
middle due to restriction on movement all around due
to delicate mural arts around. At the crowded points
within the monument, there is accumulation of high
concentration of moisture and carbon dioxide due to
visitor’s exhale. In the long run, this climatic
condition cause loosening and fall of plasters of that
particular location. Now conservators of heritage
structures are mixing Cannabis sativa in the
compatible materials prepared for the re-plastering
work at such locations in the monuments. It is to be
mentioned that owing to properties of Cannabis
sativa, it is able to undo the impact of moisture and
carbon dioxide and save our cultural property.
Therefore it can play an important role in restoration
works of our cultural heritage.
Besides, old manuscripts and old writing on the
palm leaf, birch bark, handmade papers, etc., are kept
wrapped with a red cloth to save it from disintegration
and decay by fungal attack, moisture, etc. In India,
recently clothes impregnated in better quality turmeric
paste have been researched to wrap the ancient
documents. This will save the documents from insect
activity. However, in storage places humidity is
another important factor that causes decay to the
records. In high humid condition, the turmeric is
likely to give coloration. For storage of the precious
ancient documents the hemp cloth is the best solution
as it will not only act as insect repellant but also save
the documents from the impact of moisture.
Research is being conducted on various medicinal
use of Bhang but no research seems to have been so
far conducted in India for hemp carbon negative
property and its several eco-friendly applications that
can be put in use.
Focusing on the carbon negative aspects of
Cannabis sativa L., there is a huge potential for India
to bring down the country carbon footprint to a low
level. Even the primary research if initiated on this
aspect of the hemp where the application of “hemp
stem hurd filter” and other low cost as well as
effective industrial hemp can be put in various
friendly applications, it can bring mind boggling
change in India’s environment by bringing down
carbon dioxide level. Moreover, by mixing 10 %
Cannabis in cement/clay/lime plaster in construction
activity, we cannot only revive our ancient Indian
technology but also save our precious non-renewable
resources with enormous benefits
MS is specifically grateful to the Vice Chancellor,
National Museum Institute for his keen interest and
support. The authors are thankful to Dr. Vinod Kumar
and Nilesh Mahajan for all the help extended during
technical studies.
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... To date hemp and other fibres have been identified in Indian historical mural plasters [43][44][45], and jute has been observed ethnographically in the process of making a clay idol to make the ropes placed around the bamboo and straw skeleton, and also mixed with claybased mortars when these require an extra strength, as in the case of finger modelling [10]. For historical sculptures, other works mention the presence of silk [6], cotton [6,46], hemp [6,46] or the generic "fibres" in the clay-based mortars of Chinese [46] or Himalayan [4] monumental terracruda sculptures, without providing scientific diagnostic data to accompany such statements. ...
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This work presents the results of archaeobotanical examinations of fragments of monumental terracruda sculptures from the Buddhist sites of Tepe Narenj and Qol-e-tut (Kabul, Afghanistan—5th to eleventh centuries CE). The results indicate that different plants and parts of plants were intentionally added to the clay mixtures. In particular, we identified an extensive presence of bast fibres, which were not evidenced by macroscopic examinations and previous analyses. Among the fibres, we highlight the presence of ramie/nettle, whose use has been identified for the first time in this type of artworks. The determination of these herbaceous additives offer a new perspective for studying the manufacturing technique, as well as an anchor point to follow this tradition along the Silk Roads. It also provides relevant information that should be taken into account in the design of conservative interventions adapted to the specific nature of this heritage.
... It is also cultivated in some countries largely for its fibers, which are raw materials for manufacturing of strings, fabrics and vessel sails. This plant has been used for its analgesic, antispasmodic, narcotic, sedative and anti-inflammatory properties (Singh et al., 2018). However, studies regarding its antifungal activities are very rare. ...
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The fungus Aspergillus versicolor is generally found on food products and produces sterigmatocystin, a carcinogenic and hepatotoxic mycotoxin. This study reports the usefulness of polar and non-polar fractions of methanolic extract of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) leaves against A. versicolor. Dried leaves of hemp were soaked in methanol for two weeks. The material was filtered and the methanol was evaporated on a rotary evaporator. Thereafter, water was added to the residues and the aqueous mixture was successively partitioned with n-hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate and n-butanol. Different concentrations of each fraction were prepared which ranged from 1.562 to 200 mg mL-1. Antifungal activity was carried out in malt extract broth medium. In general, all the concentrations of the four organic solvent fractions significantly controlled the growth of A. versicolor. There was 71–100%, 59–100%, 65–100% and 69–100% decline in the biomass of A. versicolor due to n-hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate and n-butanol fractions, respectively. It is concluded that different fractions of leaf extract of C. sativa has remarkable potential in controlling growth of A. versicolor.
... Cannabis is said to sequester around 249 kg of carbon dioxide per ton of hemp used. Hempcrete is thermally stable and makes house fire-resistant (Singh and Mamania, 2018). Another important advantage of using Cannabis is that it is a good insecticide and insect repellent, so the wood is less prone to damage and has long durability. ...
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The concern for the issues related to the growing needs of human civilization like resource depletion, pollution, climate changes, and health risk has led to a search for eco-friendly alternatives to environmental problems. Recently, hemp started gaining popularity for its medicinal, nontoxic, greenhouse negative, and biodegradable properties. Originating from the steppes of Central Asia, Cannabis sativa L. (hemp) is one of the oldest domesticated plants known to humans. Since 5000–4000 BC, different parts of the plant were used for spinning, weaving, papermaking, the seed for human feed, animal feeds, medicinal, and health purposes. Reports also suggest the use of hemp as an organic additive in the historic earthen plasters of Ellora Caves, India (6th Century). Due to its psychoactive and recreational properties, this environmentally friendly plant lost its importance eventually in the 19th century and its cultivation was made illegal. People, in general, changed their outlook towards the plant and considered it a sign of moral indignation. Recently, food, pharmaceutical, textile, paper, building, energy, and other industries found hemp to be a promising solution for synthetic-based economies. Since then, the cultivation of hemp has been reintroduced, legalized in some countries, and now in recent times, there has been a good reimplementation of the plant in creating a green economy. This review will highlight the application of hemp and display its outstanding qualities in minimizing environmental and health issues. Based on the knowledge gained from various scientific resources; the commercial, industrial, and agricultural potential of the plant will be unveiled to give more push towards the hemp cultivation.
Hemp is one of the most complete plants for industrial and consumer purposes. In pharmaceutical industry, cannabidiol (CBD) extracts are gaining increasing attention due to their therapeutic properties. There is a lack of information about their inorganic constituents, as well as assessment of these elements that are essential and/or potentially toxic towards humans. The inorganic elements quantified in the hemp samples by ICP OES were: Mg (5–8000); Ca (10–1780); P (39–17500) and K (6500–14000) mg kg⁻¹. The microelements obtained were: Mo (0.03–1.1); Ba (0.09–2.4); Sr (0.21–7.8); Cr (0.30–0.62); Ni (0.81–1.0); Na (1.4–11.1); Cu (19.5–24.0); Mn (0.66–152); Zn (51–96) and Fe (111–168) mg kg⁻¹. The elements levels are related to the manufacturing processes of the hemp products, being below the tolerable upper daily intake levels. For the seeds samples, the inorganic constituents levels were: Ca (313–1164); Mg (4498–6734); K (7500–12104) and P (9623–13636) mg kg⁻¹. The microelements levels were: Mo (0.46–1.3); Cr (0.48–1.9); Ba (0.48–11.0); Ni (0.66–3.7); Sr (4.6–22.0); Cu (10.2–14.2); Na (11.1–87.0); Mn (38−83); Zn (62–82) and Fe (92–112) mg kg⁻¹. Hemp seeds also represent an excellent source of trace elements essential to health. The CBD extracts, showed low levels of inorganic constituents, that there was no risk to human health. The nutritional order established for the Cannabis-based products as it follows: hemp protein > shelled seeds > peeled seeds > hemp butter > hemp oil and CBD extracts.
One of the key drivers of the alarming increase in anthropogenic carbon emissions is the construction industry and the built environment. Conventional building materials are harmful to the planet because of non-renewable resources and energy-intensive manufacturing processes. Conventional insulation materials, masonry materials, and concrete are highly polluting and cause significant amounts of damage to the global environment. Researchers have recently started studying natural alternatives to overcome the current materials’ environmental challenges and functional disadvantages. Hemp has emerged as a resource with immense potential because of its renewability, ease of cultivation, and low maintenance as an agricultural crop. Many applications of hemp were also found in ancient and modern history before it was replaced with petroleum-based products that were easy and faster to produce. Also, it has found renewed interest amongst the scientific community because of its beneficial properties such as tensile strength, thermal insulation, and lightweight. Many new applications have emerged, such as insulation mats, fiber-reinforced cement concrete, walling material, polymer composites, boards, etc. This chapter synthesizes the research on hemp’s construction applications, namely, hemp insulation mats, hemp fiber-reinforced concrete, and hemp concrete.
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Iron ore as pozzolanic filler is an uncommon constituent of historic plaster rarely reported in any research. This paper presents one such study from western India where hematite instead of crushed bricks was identified as admixture in thirteenth–sixteenth-century CE Mughal masonry lime works of Daulatabad Fort. The outer/inner coat plasters from different locations of the fort were examined for morphological, mineralogical, chemical, and basic physical properties. The analytical investigative study was performed by optical microscopy, sieve analysis, X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, SEM-EDX, and thermal analyzer. Although the plaster is dominantly made of micritic calcite and aggregate, incorporation of gypsum in the outer and inner coats has been detected and probably acted as a second binder. Cannabis sativa was mixed in the plaster, pointing to the knowledge of hempcrete technology by the makers of Daulatabad Fort. This investigation has now provided essential information with enough precision about this historic plaster for formulation of compatible repair materials essential for the site restoration.
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Available online xxxx This research focuses on the characterization of ancient decorative earthen plaster of India's Pithalkhora group of caves. The restoration strategies being planned for the earthen plaster demand detailed scientific investigation to understand technology and composition so as to prepare matching plaster. The mineralogical, micro-structural and chemical characterization of the earthen plasters have been investigated by analytical tools like petrological microscope, XRF, CHN analysis, laser scattering particle size analyzer, FTIR, XRD, Scanning Electron Microscopy, thermal analyzer (DGA/DTA) as well as on-site observations. A comparative study with nearby sites portrays the earthen plaster of Pithalkhora coarser (silt: 62–100%, sand: 2–2.2%) with traces of clay (0–2%); hence it may be prone to damage by grain breakages. The chemical composition confirms that the aggregates mixed with the earthen plaster belong to that of locally available basaltic origin. SEM studies show addition of quartz and traces of clay (illite and montmorillonite) to augment the flexibility and performance of the plaster. The restoration plaster should be synthesized with aggregates of locally available basaltic rock mixed with slaked lime in addition with rice husk and other vegetal fibres as vegetal additive to overcome the shrinkage of the plaster.
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The present research trend is to explore sustainable construction materials having least environmental impact that also encapsulate in terms of our natural resources. The present communication discusses the use of raw hemp as an organic additive in the clay plaster of the 6th century AD Buddhist Caves of Ellora, a World Heritage Site. Cannabis sativa L. admixed in the clay plaster has been identified using scanning electron microscope, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and stereomicroscopic studies and the results are compared with fresh specimens. The study indicates that many valuable properties of hemp were known to the ancient Indians in the 6th century AD.
Review of book, Stephen A. Maisto, Mark Galizio, and Gerard J. Connors. Drug Use and Abuse (2nd ed.) Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Press, 1995, 500 pp. Reviewed by Mitch Earleywine.
This study documents a holistic approach, combining mineralogical, geochemical and textural data to characterize the decorative earthen plaster of the 2nd century BCE. Buddhist rock cut caves of Karle in Western India. The analytical examination was carried out by the use of a petrological microscope, Laser particle size analysis, thin section analysis, XRF (X Ray fluorescence), XRD (X Ray Diffraction), FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy), SEM(Scanning ElectronMicroscope) and Raman spectroscopy in addition to themonitoring of environmental parameters. The results indicate that the local clayey soil, which is abundantly available in the high rain fed western coastal areas, was utilized for the earliest earthen plaster works. The characteristics of the clay seem to have been modified by mixing calcite and an organic adhesive. Rounded sub-angular aggregates derived from disintegration of basaltic rock and rice husk were added to influence shrinkage properties of the plaster. In addition to a better understanding of the technology and composition of ancient India's early earthen plasterworks, scientific data from the analysis was used to plan the composition of restoration plaster.
We live in an age when a divine vision is dismissed as an hallucination, and desire to experience a direct communication with god is often interpreted as a sign of mental illness. Nevertheless, some scholars and scientists assert that such visions and communications are fundamentally derived from an ancient and ongoing cultural tradition. The hypothesis presented here suggests that humans have a very ancient tradition involving the use of mind-altering experiences to produce profound, more or less spiritual and cultural understanding.
In 1971 Hepler and Frank reported reduction in intraocular pressure occurring after healthy young adults smoked marihuana. These initial observations led to additional studies designed to compare the pressure-reducing effects of placebo, smoked marihuana, and injected THC. Consistent, statistically-significant pressure reduction was observed in double-blind studies. Drop in intraocular pressure (IOP) was also observed in hospitalized subjects observed repeatedly for 12-hour periods. Additional hospitalized subjects were permitted to smoke marihuana ad libitum during a 5 1/2-hour period and comparisons were made between the pressure-reducing effects of smoking varying numbers of marihuana cigarettes. It was observed, for instance, that a subject smoking 22 cigarettes had only a slight further decrease in IOP as compared with a subject who smoked only 2 cigarettes. Hospitalized subjects observed for a total of 35 days, and other subjects observed for a total of 94 days, continued during these periods of prolonged chronic use of marihuana to show decrease in IOP with each period of intoxication. The results of these various investigations were reported at the International Conference on the Pharmacology of Cannabis, Savannah, Georgia, on December 4, 1974 (Hepler, Frank and Petrus, 1974). Graphical representation of the data is given in Figures 1–4. Publications by Shapiro (1974), Green and Podos (1974),and Purnell and Gregg (1975), among others, have confirmed the apparent IOP-reducing effect of marihuana and cannabinoids.