Medicinal and Therapeutic Uses
Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Algin, Agar, Fucoidan and Lamanine
These four substances, aside from the high levels of minerals and vitamins, make up the bulk medicinal properties of seaweeds. Seaweeds, especially the kelps, are the most highly mineralized plants (but not plants) on earth. They accumulate minerals directly from the ocean and concentrate them within their plant structures. All the health-giving minerals in seaweed are readily available to you. All you need to do is to soak the seaweed first in water then chew well - or cook with it or make it into a tea. Seaweeds colloidal minerals facilitate the unloading of toxic substances and assist other nutrients, such as vitamins, in being utilized and transported to cells.
Seaweeds contain various mucilage and gums such as algin, agar, sodium alginate, and alginic acid. These extracts or gels, made from both the red and brown seaweeds, are used in the manufacture of various foods and textiles, as well as beauty, skincare,
and other commercial products.
Algin from brown seaweeds, like the Laminarias (containing 20 to 30 percent) is a linear
polysaccharide (non-toxic gel or mucilage) occurring in the cell walls and intercellular spaces. Algin is used in paper-making, textile and welding manufacturing as well as pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and commercial food industries as a suspending agent, thickener and emulsifier. Think the foam head on beer and the creaminess of ice cream. Also in throat lozenges, creams, lotions, and peel-off facial masks. Sodium Alginate and Alginic acid derived from algin have over 2000 food and industrial uses.
In Southern California, giant barges harvest Giant Kelp (Macrocystis sp.) for the production of algin. Algin can reduce the uptake and help remove radioactive Strontium and Cesium from the human body. Algin also helps remove heavy metals from
the body including lead, cadmium, barium and zinc.
Algae can also reduce the uptake of radioactive Iodine by the thyroid, treat hypothyroidism and goiter due to it’s high Iodine content.
Fucoidan, a nutrient found in brown seaweeds like kombu and Alaria (wakame), is a complex sugar molecule that stimulates the production of immune cells, giving the body better protection against pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Fucoidan has been described as having similar composition to the human breast milk produced
during the first week after birth. All human cells studied to date have receptor sites for fucose, the end-group sugar found in fucoidan. It is extracted with hot water, an acid solution, or enzymes and imparts to seaweed its slippery protective quality.
Laminine, found in Laminaria has been found to be hypotensive. In France, seaweeds are used as body wraps (Thalossatherapy) to nourish the skin, soothe the nerves and treat arthritis. The slimy, mucilaginous quality of seaweeds can be used to soothe sore throats, heartburn, insect bites, burns and other skin and mucous membrane irritations.