A nutrient-dense, brown sea vegetable. Kelp has long been used as food and medicine. As a food, kelp is usually eaten is small quantities; it is also used as condiment. Kelp is harvested from oceans around the world. Many different species and varieties are used, but all have essentially the same properties.
Kelp’s primary taste is salty, due to the fact that sea water dries on the leaves and adds a small amount of sodium chloride to the herb. It is also salty due to high potassium content. The secondary characteristic is that the plant is mucilant and slightly bitter. Seaweed is warming (due to its action on the thyroid) and cooling to tissues (due to its soothing mucilaginous nature).
Kelp is one of the richest sources of the element iodine, which is needed by thyroid hormones to help regulate the body’s growth and development. It has been only in recent years that this seaweed has been consumed by peoples other than the Japanese. Studies have proven that there is a significant correlation between the Japanese intake of kelp and the country’s dramatically lower rates of breast cancer, obesity, heart disease, respiratory disease, rheumatism and arthritis, high blood pressure, thyroid deficiency, infectious disease, constipation and similar gastrointestinal ailments.
By the 18th century doctors began to notice that people who lived along the Atlantic Coast rarely developed enlarged thyroid glands, known as goiters. They realized that this was because people along the coast consumed seaweed regularly. Iodine can also protect cells from damage by radioactive substances and heavy metals. It is beneficial because its ability to combat radiation exposure and heavy metal toxicity. A chemical in Kelp called sodium alginate prevents the absorption of radioactive strontium 90. Strontium 90 is a byproduct of nuclear explosions and nuclear power and weapons facilities and has been linked to a number of ailments including cancer and leukemia, bone cancer and Hodgkin’s disease. One study has shown that alginate supplements can reduce strontium 90 absorption by as much as 83 percent. Sodium alginate helps to prevent the absorption of newly-ingested heavy metals.
Native Americans also recognized the benefits of Kelp, saying it prevented a condition they called “big necks” (goiters). Those who suffered from a lack of iodine were given kelp. Some of the Indians, especially those living on or near the seacoasts, found kelp beneficial in helping burns and scalds. In the 1860’s, physicians in Britain and France noticed that people who consumed iodine seemed to lose weight more easily than most people. They discovered that iodine stimulates the thyroid, which in turn boosts the body’s metabolism rate. As a result, the body is able to burn calories more quickly.
Women’s breast is the second biggest user of iodine and many breast ailments can be helped by using an adequate intake of iodine. All tissues of the body need iodine, but the parts of the body that suffer the most from iodine deficiency (beside the breast and thyroid) are the skin, eyes, prostate and uterus.
Kelp is found in various Natures’ Sunshine formulas. Kelp is an ingredient in Adaptamax a remarkable formula that I personally like a lot. Adaptamax is part of the Glandular System Pack which also includes Master Gland and and Adrenal Support. This Glandular system pack provides nutrients to nourish the body’s glands, support positive mood, promote energy and strengthen the body’s ability to regulate stress. It supports the natural defense mechanisms against all types of stress, along with antioxidant-and-nutrient rich herbs and whole foods to enhance the immune system, increase energy levels, and promote mental and physical well- being. Kelp is also found in Thyroid Activator, Thyroid Support, Energ-V, Heavy Metal Detox, Herbal Trace Minerals and Target TS-II.