Seaweed Healing Properties
Fucus vesiculosus (bladderwrack – brown algae) is brown seaweed that can be easily recognized from its prominent bladder like alignment on either side of the midrib. This grows on the northern coast of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and also in North and Baltic Sea. A brown seaweed that grows alongside the Fucus vesiculosus is Ascophyllum nodosum. Thus this name is sometimes used for Fucus vesiculosus. Along with other types of seaweed, these seaweeds are often included in kelp preparations.
Seaweed is used as a herbal medicine and Vietnamese are also known to use it as food.
They consume it in different forms like vegetable, vegetable soup, raw salad, pickle with vinegar or sauce and sweetened jellies.
Brown Algae (BladderWrack) Medicinal Properties
- Based on various unclear scientific evidences seaweed is used for these medical ailments. However it is not thoroughly being tested for its safety and effectiveness and more scientific researches in this field are needed.
- Bladderwrack (brown algae) may have antifungal and antibacterial properties and also anticoagulant and antioxidant properties in fucans and fucoidans that are components of bladderwrack.
- A number of brown algae which also includes bladderwrack may help to curb the formation of the cells responsible for cancer in the body and may also be helpful in lowering blood sugar levels.
- Due to the variable content of iodine in bladderwrack, it is used in the treatment of thyroid disorders such as goiter.
- Many products are available in the market with bladderwrack and other seaweeds and these are marketed for losing weight.
- Traditionally based on scientific theories bladderwrack is also used for arthritis, edema, eczema, psoriasis, atherosclerosis, enlarged glands, hair loss, heart burn, stomach upset, ulcer, high cholesterol, laxative, malnutrition, herpes simplex virus, lymphoma, menstrual irregularities, rheumatism, soar throat and painful or swollen testes. However the safety and effectiveness of bladderwrack is not tested in humans for these conditions.
Seaweed Side Effects
- Bladderwrack consumption is always considered unsafe because of its potential contamination with many heavy metals.
- High iodine content in bladderwrack may be toxic if taken in large doses. It may lead to abnormal thyroid conditions, acne-type skin lesions, increased salivation, stomach irritation and brassy taste.
- Bladderwrack may lower blood sugar levels and have blood thinning effects. Thus it should be used with caution for patients with diabetes, hypoglycemia, bleeding disorders, or taking medications for these conditions.
- Due to high levels of arsenic kidney and liver toxicity have been reported in some individuals.
- Bladderwrack may not be advisable for children and during pregnancy and lactation due to its high iodine, heavy metal and other contamination.
Bladderwrack and its products should be taken in recommended doses under the guidance of a health care professional to avoid its side effects.