Scientific Name/Common Name: Laminaria digitata / Kelp
Part(s) Used: Whole, dried thallus (body) and leaves (blades).
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Polysaccharides: alginic acid (algin) as the major component; fucoidan and laminarin (sulphated polysaccharide esters). Minerals: iodine; calcium; potassium; magnesium; phosphorus; iron and silicon. Good source of vitamin K and folate. Total iodine varies between 0.1 to 0.8%, based on dry weight.
Overview: Kelp is a large, leafy brown edible seaweed rich in vitamins and minerals that grows along colder coastlines. Kelp is an excellent source of iodine, a major component of thyroxine and triiodothyronine, thyroid hormones that affect weight gain, and cellular metabolic rates. One to two milligrams of iodine per week are required to prevent goiter. Based on epidemiological studies, thyroid disease is practically unknown in people who regularly eat kelp. The alginates in kelp (complex polysaccharides), like other soluble fibres, have a soothing and cleansing effect on the digestive tract and are known to help prevent the absorption of heavy metals, waste products, and other toxic substances.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: As a nutritious addition to soups, stews, and breads and as a savory garnish to rice and vegetable dishes. As a good source of iodine.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References: Newall CA, Anderson LA, and Phillipson JD. 1996. Herbal Medicines. A Guide for Health Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, pp. 124-126. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3158?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=Full&count=&max=35&offset=&sort=&qlookup=11445
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.