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The oldest evidence of the use of hemp fibers dates back to around 2800 BC.
Due to their properties, especially their strength, they were used to make canvas, cords and ropes until well into the 20th century.
Today they are also used for textiles. Fabrics made from hemp fibers in plain weave are also known as "hemp linen".
Male and female hemp plants differ in the morphology and quality of their fibers.
Female plants have a longer growth phase and form thicker and stronger fiber cells, while the proportion of primary fibers is higher in male plants.
Accordingly, the fibers of male hemp plants are finer and can be woven into finer fabrics.
The fibers of the female plants, on the other hand, are much stronger and can be used for coarser fabrics and ropes.
Today, the fibers of both sexes are processed together to produce a medium fiber quality.
The fiber contains more lignin than the flax fiber and correspondingly less cellulose.
It is comparatively resistant to chemicals: it is completely insensitive to bases and only strong acids can damage the fiber.
The water absorption capacity of hemp fiber is around 8% of its own weight, without water escaping and the material feeling wet.
Hemp owes its importance as a material for ropes, nets and tarpaulins in shipping to this property. It is also very suitable for summer and winter clothing. In 2019, the area under hemp cultivation amounted to 39,405 hectares, of which 14,000 hectares were in France. In Europe, the production volume of fibers is around 152,000 tons, of which 78,000 tons are produced in France alone and 14,000 tons in the Netherlands. In France, the fiber yield is around 7,700 kg/ha.
Today, long hemp fibers are used almost exclusively for the production of textiles.
They are very tear-resistant and are particularly suitable for the clothing industry.
Hemp textiles achieve better values for abrasion resistance than cotton textiles and therefore also have a longer service life.
Hemp fibers can absorb up to 30% moisture without triggering chemical processes, sticking to the skin or developing odors.
Textiles made from hemp cool in summer and warm in winter. There is also an invaluable ecological advantage: hemp textiles do not need to be washed as often as fabrics made from other fibers.
As there is hardly any bacterial growth through sweat, it is often enough to hang a sweaty garment out in the fresh air overnight and it can be worn again the next morning without the smell of sweat. This means less water, electricity and detergent consumption, i.e. a significantly better eco-balance.
Another advantage for allergy sufferers, skin-sensitive people and rheumatics is that hemp textiles are absolutely non-toxic.
As hemp has good protective mechanisms against pests, it is grown without any pesticides.
This is why sensitive people tolerate hemp textiles much better than clothing made from other materials.

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