The seaweed kelp has several common names: Bladderwrack, Black wrack, Sea wrack, and Black tang.

There are many different types of species. All are good to eat, even though they can vary dramatically in chemical makeup. There is the giant kelp from the Pacific Ocean, often reaching eighty feet in length, which whales and sea lions enjoy snacking on. Some grow to 150 feet and can form underwater forests. Then there is the less impressive looking kelp that is often green or brownish but is also valuable.

Many and varied uses

Kelp is the original source of iodine, a discovery made in 1812 by Courtois. It is high in potash salts, potassium chloride, sodium, calcium, and many trace elements, and a superb food supplement benefiting the skin, fingernails, and hair. Kelp is also a skin smoother. One of its main uses is to re-mineralize the body. All of the seaweeds are advantageous for poultices for cuts and bruises, and to treat chronic psoriasis and reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis. Many Native Americans used kelp to relieve pain and to heal scalds and burns. It has also been used as a blood purifier and, in general, to bring good health.

My view

Anything as nutritious and containing so many essential properties for your body must be beneficial to your skin. Seaweeds in the bath leave trace elements on your skin and, if you take a hot bath, those minerals enter your body through your heat-opened pores. I love seaweeds. The mucilage they produce is very healing, cleansing, moisturizing, and feels good. Kelp is high in silica so it is extremely beneficial to the skin and hair.

There’s more: Kelp is renowned for being a weight-loss herb because of its effects on the thyroid gland. Twenty-five grams taken before each meal is often recommended.

Chemical constituents: Mucilage, mannitol, potassium, iodine, volatile oil, sodium, calcium, potassium chloride, potash salts, and many trace elements.