When I was growing up in Maine, it was a short walk down to the cove where the granite boulders that we called a “beach” were covered in Bladderwrack. As a kid, I would grab huge handfuls of the seaweed, looking for the mussels tangled in it. If you wrap the mussels in the seaweed and put the whole thing on a hot grill, the mussels steam perfectly, and the charred Bladderwrack goes into the garden, where the corn and tomatoes thrive on it.
I was a teenager before I learned that Bladderwrack is a powerful medicinal plant and a rich source of nutrients for people as well as plants including Iodine, Potassium, Beta Carotene, and a special fiber called Fucoidan.
The most common use of Bladderwrack is for support of the Thyroid. This plant is rich in Iodine which is essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland. And the thyroid gland is essential to a healthy metabolism. For folks trying to lose weight, and especially for those who need to lose weight because of a diagnosis of Diabetes or High Blood Pressure, Bladderwrack in the diet can be a fantastic ally.
Although a bit strange-looking, this incredibly common seaweed is absolutely chock-full of healthy nutrients. Rich in many minerals and anti-oxidants, Bladderwrack can be used in baths to soothes and soften the skin and is a relaxing detox after a stressful day.
It is also rich in Beta-carotene, making it an excellent addition to your diet to support eye health. An essential nutrient for good vision, beta-carotene may also prevent age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Bladderwrack is rich in fiber, including Fucoidan and alginic acid. Fucoidan has been studied for its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Alginic acid is a type of fiber known to soothe the bowels and promote regular, healthy elimination.
Finally, Bladderwrack supports cardiovascular health, particularly increasing the HDL or “good” cholesterol, a factor in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Overall this amazing sea vegetable is a great addition to your diet! Bladderwrack can be found in capsules or in bulk powder. It can be added to soups and smoothies, used as a seasoning (it does contain some natural sea salt) or taken as a dietary supplement.