ALSO KNOWN AS:
Fucus, Sea-Wrack, Kelp-Ware
Black-Tang, Quercus marina, Cutweed
Bladder Fucus, Fucus (Varech), vesiculeux
Blasentang, Seetang, Meeriche
The dried mass of root, stem and leaves (thallus, frond, offshoots)
PHYTOCHEMICALS & NUTRIENTS
Primary chemical constituents of this plant include mucilage, algin, beta-carotene, bromine, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, mannitol, organic iodine, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur, volatile oils, Vitamins A, E, B, D, zeaxanthin and many other minerals.
PROPERTIES & USES
Kelp may be eaten raw or consumed in a number of other forms, including dried, tablets, granulated or ground into powder. It is also available in liquid form and can be added to drinking water. In its powdered form, it can be used as a condiment for flavoring and as a salt substitute.
Used as an external application or internally, Kelp has a reputation in helping the relief of rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis.
Bladderwrack, a type of Kelp, has a chemical constituent of called alginic acid which swells upon contact with water. Taken orally, Bladderwrack forms a type of seal at the top of the stomach. Because of this property, this type of Kelp is often used in over-the-counter preparations for heartburn. The same property gives Bladderwrack laxative properties as well.
Kelp is a natural source of iodine, an essential nutrient for proper function of the endocrine system, especially the thyroid gland. Kelp has proved useful in the treatment of under active thyroid glands (hypothyroidism) and goiter. Where obesity is related to hypothyroidism, Kelp is a help in weight reduction.
Iodine in Kelp helps prevent tumor growth, helps cleanse the body of radiation and acts as a natural antibiotic, fighting infection. The natural plant iodine present in Kelp is absorbed more slowly and more safely than chemical iodine. This property enables Kelp to support the adrenals, pancreas, thyroid and pituitary glands, alleviating symptoms related to poor endocrine function. These include symptoms such as low body temperature, hair loss, enlarged prostate, fetal abnormalities, poor function (or decreased function) of reproductive organs.
Rich in calcium, chlorine, potassium, magnesium and other minerals including trace minerals, Kelp helps normalize glands and hormone levels during pregnancy as well as strengthen nails, build cell membranes, and support proper function of the immune system.
For more information on the role of Iodine in support of health, read this article:
Iodine, Required for Health
CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS
While most Kelp is considered safe during pregnancy, I would take care to be sure of the source, as plants harvested from polluted waters could carry toxins such as mercury, a known neurotoxin. There are cautions against using Bladderwrack for pregnant or lactating mothers. Bladderwrack is also not recommended for use by those suffering from hyperthyroidism or cardiac problems. Excessive dosage (many times the recommended dosage) may lead to hyperthyroidism, tremor, increased pulse rate and elevated blood pressure.
As with all herbs, avoid use of plants that have been exposed to toxic chemicals or have not been certified 'chemical free.'
Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.