Bladderwrack or Kelp is a brown sea weed found along the coasts of Pacific and Atlantic oceans and Baltic sea. It is used as a food or food additive in many areas. The unique components of bladderwrack, which include iodine, alginic acid and fucoidan, make it an effective herbal remedy for a number of conditions.
Bladderwrack has been used for a long time as a remedy for hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism or goiter is a condition in which the thyroid gland, found in neck region, functions below optimal levels. Thyroid gland plays an important role in growth and metabolism, and its under-activity causes disturbances in these functions. Hypothyroidism can occur due to a number of reasons; iodine deficiency is one of them. High iodine content in bladderwrack makes it an effective remedy for hypothyroidism caused by iodine deficiency.
Oral intake or local application of bladderwrack can help in management of symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. Bladderwrack oil, obtained by extracting and processing its juice, has anti-inflammatory property. This makes it an effective remedy for pain in joints and inflammation.
Alginic acid, one of the components present in bladderwrack, is a type of dietary fiber. Alginic acid has the property of swelling up on contact with water. This fiber is responsible for bladerwrack’s laxative effect, making it an effective remedy for constipation.
Alginic acid is also helpful in treatment of heartburn. The fiber creates a sort of closure at the top of the stomach, providing effective protection against heartburn. Many over-the-counter heartburn medications contain alginic acid. Studies indicate that OTC antacid medications containing sodium alginate are more effective compared to antacids not containing it.
High Cholesterol and Obesity
Bladderwrack is an effective remedy for high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol. The high fiber content present in the herb binds with the fats and removes them from the body through excretion.
The herb is gaining popularity as a weight loss aid as well. Hypothyroidism is a cause of obesity, and bladderwrack helps in treatment of hypothyroidism caused by iodine deficiency. By inducing thyroid gland to function optimally, bladderwrack helps boost metabolic rate. The mild diuretic effect of the herb eliminates water retention, further aiding weight loss.
The expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties of bladderwrack make it an effective remedy for a number of respiratory disorders. It is useful in cases of cough and mild lung inflammations. The herb has been used to treat asthma as well. Before you start using bladderwarck to treat respiratory problems, it is essential to consult a medical professional.
Some studies indicate that bladderwrack may be helpful in reducing risk of cancer as well. Fucoidan, a type of fiber, present in bladderwarck, helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels. Fucoidan is known to have antiangiogenic and antitumor properties. Synthesis of AP-I, which is responsible for cell growth and multiplication, is also regulated by fucoidan. Thus it may help slow down growth of cancer tumor.
Bladderwrack has a number of benefits, but it is best to discuss its pros and cons with a healthcare professional before you start using it for a medical condition.