Hemp cultivation for fibre was recorded in
China as early as 2800 BCE. China was known as the
land of “Hemp and Mulberry.” Mulberries were used
to feed the silk worms that produced the silk needed
for the clothing of royal figures. Hemp fibre stalks
were used for clothing, fishing nets, and textiles.
Hemp is pronounced, “Ma” 大麻(dàmá)
or diama(di- 1. a prefix occurring in
loanwords from Greek, where it meant “two,” “twice,”
“double.) In Chinese, meaning the plant with 2 forms;
male and female. The male flowering plant was used
for medicinal purposes in teas and tinctures, and the
female flower was used as psychoactive pain relief.
Hemp was the first plant used in a WAR
conflict. Asiatic cultures used the stalks of the hemp
plant to make strong bows, arrows, and string for
weaponry. This eventually led to the plant becoming
exclusively grown by certain farmers ensuring the
protection of China.
Emporer Shen Nun was even bandaged in hemp leaves
after a battle! Red Emperor, Shen Nung, wrote, The
Classic of the Roots and Herbs of the Divine Farmer,
in which he included marijuana as a treatment for
arthritis and earaches.
During the Han Dynasty, (221 -220 BC) Tsai Lin
posed as dead, and reenacted an “organized
resurrection” with burned hemp around his coffin.
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Around this time the invention of hemp paper known
as “Ba Qiao” was established. Examples of the paper
were recovered from the Han dynasty tombs in the
Shan Xi province.
The Chinese also wore hemp clothing in honor of the
deceased legend. Xia Xiao Zheng even kept the oldest
Agricultural Treaty referring to hemp as one of the
main crops in China and the Chinese were the first to
record techniques of hemp sowing, cultivation, and

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Portrait of the Red Emperor Shen Nung (2838 – 2698

The origin of the Chinese pharmacological book, The
Herbal (also known by various other names) has been
lost in history and is now the subject of numerous
myths and legends. The most renowned title existed
sometime around 2500 BC. The Red Emperor himself
(via divine inspiration) wrote the Pen Ts’ao or “The
Herbal,” which is still in use today by practitioners of
Traditional Chinese Medicine.
*Shen Nung was traditionally clothed in a garment of
herbal leaves.
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Because China has used a written script for over 4,000
years, one might think that documenting their historical
use of Medical Cannabis would be an easy task.
However, from a historian’s standpoint, this has proven
to be one of the most challenging of sections yet.
Granted, our purpose here is to simply establish, or
document the industrial uses of the Hemp Plant as a
source of food, cloth, oil, paper etc.
What about its medical uses? Recalling that
our main purpose here is not simply to repeat what
other websites are saying; but to actually present the
reader with first hand documentation actual historical
endeavors that occurred. The goal is to display credible
events that other publications can pick up. This has
proven to be no easy task, according to the Yearbook
[1913] of the United States Department of Agriculture.
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