Fucus vesiculosus

Bladderwrack - Fucus vesiculosus (in the Fucaceae family)

Part used: Fronds(thallus).

Taste/smell: Mucilaginous, salty.

Tendencies: Cooling.

Dosage: Decoction: 1 heaping teaspoon per cup of water simmered for a minumum of one hour; or chew an equivalent amount of frond pieces. It is best to eat the actual fronds or put them in soups etc. Optimal results are obtained from eating the whole dried frond. The tea and tincture are much less effective.

Use: (a) Diuretic, (b) Mucilaginous, (c) Nutritional.

Bladderwrack improves nutrition by supplying minerals and trace elements such as iodine, which is in the form of inorganic salts and iodine bound to proteins and lipids. It is therefore indicated in hypothyroidism due to lack of iodine. The total iodine is not less than 0.05% and the protein-bound iodine is not less than 0.02%. Seaweed can fulfill the iodine needs of the body. In nuclear accidents such as Chernobyl, iodine-131 fallout can be very destructive. Sufficient body iodine is protective against absorbing iodine-131. Other constituents found in bladderwrack are mucilaginous polysaccharides and polyphenols.

Contraindications: Do not use this herb in hyperthyroidism or if there is excessive circulating iodine. Excess iodine can lead to increased uptake of iodine by the thyroid causing inhibition of organic iodine formation and eventually iodide-goiter or myxedema, especially in patients with preexisting Hashimotos thyroiditis. Iodine supplementation is contraindicated in pregnancy or while nursing. Iodine is capable of entering breast milk and producing an emaciating effect on infants.

Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.