Kelp health benefits have been known for centuries. Algae is an essential ingredient of traditional Chinese and Japanese cuisine and is becoming more and more commonly used in Western countries. Several kelp species have similar properties (for instance, Laminaria Digitata Lam., Laminaria Digitata Lam., and Laminaria Hyperborea Foslie.). A mixture of them all, pressed and dried, makes kombu, an ingredient in many oriental meals.
Kelp Scientific Facts
- Scientific Names – Laminaria saccharina Lam.
- French – Laminiere.
- Spanish – Laminaria.
- Environment – It grows on submarine rocks of the Atlantic coast of America and Europe.
- Description – Dun algae of the Laminariaceae family, growing up 2 to 3 m large. It sticks to the rocks utilizing a kind of root called rhizoids. Its thallus is divided into tape-shaped (fronds) fragments, which vary in size and shape depending on its species.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally – The thallus (the body of the alga).
The many kelp health benefits are a result of alginates (vegetal jelly which is obtained from algae), sugars (carbon hydrates), minerals (especially iodine, phosphorus, calcium, and sodium), and vitamins A and B.
Alginates have the capability of increasing their volume up to six times by absorbing water. Thus, when in the stomach, they produce the sensation of being full, which helps calm the appetite in treatments against obesity. In gynecology, it is also used to dilate the uterine neck by putting a piece of disinfected algae inside it.
Kelp, like other algae, has refreshing and stimulant properties for metabolism due to its content of iodine. Therefore, kelp health benefits are recommended for people suffering from obesity and hypothyroidism.
Alginates are also used in pharmacological and chemical industries as excipients and thickeners.
How to gain Kelp Health Benefits
- As a dressing or ingredient for salads and several cooking recipes.
- Decoction with 30 grams of algae in 200 ml (a glass) of water, boiling for five minutes and drinking before every meal. You can take the liquid alone, the algae, or both.
- Several pharmaceutical preparations are based on algae, whose use and dosage are clearly shown on their information leaflets.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 652. Print.