Bladderwrack is a form of kelp that has been used medicinally for centuries. The term kelp is used to describe a number of brownish-green seaweed species. Fucus is a genus of brown algae (seaweed) that lives in the intertidal zones of rocky shores. The main use of the herb has been for the stimulation of the thyroid gland and as a treatment for obesity and cellulite. Bladderwrack is rich in iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulphur, silicon and iron and high in some B-complex vitamins. It contains moderate amounts of phosphorus, selenium, manganese and zinc and small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K. Bladderwrack is used for many conditions, but, so far, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them. It’s also important to note that it’s not safe to take bladderwrack by mouth. Bladderwrack, like many sea plants, contains varying amounts of iodine, which is used to prevent or treat some thyroid disorders. The consumption of seaweeds has also been associated with lower cancer rates.
Bladderwrack powder is filled with minerals that help nourish and cleanse the skin of toxins that cause dryness, wrinkles and excess fluid retention, states From Nature with Love. The powder, which may be purchased from most natural food or health stores, may be added to bath water, soaps, wraps and to facial scrubs and salts for detoxification of the skin.
In a case report published in 2004, researchers found that dietary intake of bladderwrack produced anti-estrogenic effects in three pre-menopausal women. According to the study’s authors, these findings suggest that bladderwrack may help reduce risk of oestrogen-related cancers. However, the authors caution that further research is needed before any conclusions about bladderwrack’s cancer-fighting effects can be drawn.
The National Institutes of Health warn that, due to possible contamination with heavy metals, consumption of bladderwrack “should always be considered potentially unsafe.” Furthermore, overconsumption of iodine may disrupt thyroid health, as well as lead to lowered blood sugar, stomach irritation or increased risk of bleeding.