Seaweeds – yes, that slimy stuff in the (predictably namesake) sea on those rare coastal visits in summer – are so much more than a simple source of iodine (or a vacation swimming hassle). Able to be used also in a similar way to herbs, they lend themselves to inclusion in herbal preparations, topical ointments, and – of course – as a supplemental ‘superfood’.
Nonetheless, according to seaweed specialists (yes, they exist), it can take our guts between two and four months to become attuned to efficient digestion of these water plants. In that familiarization, it is worth bearing in mind that the concept of “eat the rainbow” transfers well here, too, as they grow green, and red, and brown. They can also be eaten raw, cooked, and even fermented.
The Victorians certainly knew what they were doing when it came to the stuff: spa retreats offered bathtubs of seawater filled with fresh brown seaweed to boost circulation, lessen swelling, and so too aches and pains. Seaweeds are widely known for their detoxifying properties, and studies have shown that when used as a viral support, red seaweed contains carrageenan, which acts positively against HPV (the human papillomavirus).
So, next time you’re enjoying a – hopefully warmish – swim in the sea, just remember: seaweed is your friend!