Bladderwrack kelp (Fucus vesiculosus)
Bladderwrack is a dried seaweed that can help balance an underactive thyroid and is anti-rheumatic. In fact it is one of the highest iodine containing sea vegetables known!
Wrack has long been used to soothe irritated and inflamed tissues in the body. It was the source of iodine back in the 19th century. Iodine is an important modulator of our thyroid gland and can ensure that our hormonal and metabolic activities are under control. Therefore, as a powerful source of iodine, bladderwrack has become associated with treating many types of thyroid disorders, including goiter. It was also historically used as a bulk-forming laxative. People living near oceans or seas have a historically low rate of hypothyroidism, due, in part, to ingestion of iodine-rich food, such as seafood and seaweeds like bladder wrack. It has also been used to counter obesity, possibly due to its reputation for stimulating the thyroid gland.
In many cultures, it is thought to heighten metabolism, which makes it easier to lose weight. Many weight loss supplements do contain bladderwrack in combination with other herbs, because of its effect on the workings of the thyroid gland.
One of the other popular uses of wrack over the years has been as an anti-inflammatory substance due to its active constituents – fucoidans and fucoxanthin. Whether you are suffering from gout, arthritis, hemorrhoids, or skin irritation, bladderwrack may successfully neutralize the irritation, reduce swelling, and even relieve pain.
There are several different types of fiber found in bladderwrack, but one particularly important one is alginic acid. Alginic acid relieves constipation and adds bulk to stool, promoting a smooth digestive process that is efficient in terms of nutrient uptake. Bladder wrack steeped in hot water with ginger, or bladder wrack tea, is often used to relieve excess flatulence, bloating, cramping, and more serious conditions like gastric ulcers.
Alternately, bladderwrack may be eaten whole or made into a tea using 1 teaspoon per cup of hot water, allowing each cup to sit at least 10 minutes before drinking. Three cups per day of tea can be drunk. No more than 150 mcg iodine should be consumed from all sources, including bladderwrack, per day.
If you are wanting to buy bladderwrack in South Africa for thyroid use please consult with your doctor.