Hidden Gems: Sea Moss, Bladderwrack + Burdock Root
I wouldn’t be surprised if you found the names mentioned above unfamiliar yet, quite intriguing. Believe me, I felt the same way, but what amazed me even more was the number of health benefits associated with the use of these herbs. If you're interested in knowing more about their benefits, then keep reading.
Before we get into it, let’s introduce you to some basic and interesting facts about these herbs.
What Other Names are These Herbs Known By?
- Irish Sea Moss, a red seaweed, is also known as ‘carrageen’ and ‘Chondrus crispus’, the latter one being its scientific name.
- Bladderwrack is an edible brown macroalgae scientifically known by the name ‘Fucus vesiculos.’ Other common names include black tang, bladder focus, rockweed, cut weed, sea oak, and more.
- Burdock is a plant also known by its scientific name ‘Arctium.’ Owing to its appearance, it is also often called beggar’s buttons, fox’s clote, cockle button, and cocklebur.
Where Do They Come From?
Irish Sea Moss is mostly found in the Northern Atlantic region. Whereas, Bladderwrack is widely distributed on the middle shores of the western Baltic Sea, Atlantic coasts of North America, and also some regions of the Western Mediterranean, Europe, and China. Burdock can be found in North and South America and temperate regions of Europe and Asia.
Now let's get to the health benefits of each of these and also shed some light on the elements that are responsible for their perks.
Composition and Benefits of Irish Sea Moss
- It’s loaded with proteins and oligopeptides that play an important role in boosting the immune system and nourishing our skin and hair by improving the metabolism and growth of the cells. (1)
- It’s rich in potassium iodide (KI), which aids the immune system in fighting off upper respiratory tract infections by dissolving the irritating phlegm responsible for clogging the airways. (2)
- It consists of plenty of polysaccharides that act as a prebiotic, aiding in cleansing and detoxification of the gut by getting rid of harmful bacteria. (1)
- The high content of magnesium (Mg) and potassium (K) in it plays a vital role in elevating your mood and brain function. Studies fortify the idea that it has neuroprotective activity, that may prove to be beneficial for patients with Parkinson’s disease and possibly other neurodegenerative conditions. (3)
- The presence of Zinc and other minerals helps keep sex life healthy by reducing vaginal dryness in females and improving sexual desire in both males and females. (4)
- It also has cardio-protective activity due to the presence of antioxidants that can regulate oxygen supply and blood flow to the heart by preventing the destruction of blood vessels and tissue cells by free radicals. In addition, these antioxidant properties help relieve joint pain in patients with arthritis. (5)
Composition and Benefits of Bladderwrack
- Bladderwrack is a rich source of iodine (I). Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormones – triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) – which is the reason why it is often recommended in thyroid disorders. It also helps regulate the metabolic and endocrine activity. However, it should be taken under medical supervision as high or low doses may disturb the function of the thyroid gland. (6) it is recommended to use a supplement carefully formulated, keeping the recommended daily allowance (RDA) in mind.
- It contains a number of beneficial polysaccharides, such as fucoidan and alginic acid. Fucoidan has anti-aging effects on the skin as it reduces the appearance of age spots, blemishes, and wrinkles. It also exerts antitumor effects by inducing the process of apoptosis. (7)
- Alginate, another major polysaccharide found in this brown alga, has reported benefits of absorbing toxic elements from the gut, decreasing cholesterol uptake, and also acting as a prebiotic. Not just this, it also assists in healing wounds and supporting weight loss by providing a sense of satiety (fullness). (7)
- It contains high amounts of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), that are known to be useful for their cardio-protective and anti-tumor effects. (7) A supplement with PUFA is thus protective against both cardiovascular disorders and carcinogenesis.
- Bladderwrack is also rich in certain phytochemicals such as phlorotannins and fucoxanthin which help reduce oxidative stress and subsequently the damaging effects of free radicals on our body components, including collagen and elastin, two important proteins present in our skin. (8)
- It provides the body with plenty of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and C, calcium, iodine, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc. (9) All these nutrients play an important role in numerous chemical reactions constantly going on in our bodies.
Composition and Benefits of Burdock Root
- Burdock is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols that impart significant anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. A study showed that its use can cause a decline in the levels of inflammatory markers in people with osteoarthritis. (10)
- It helps in treating dermatological disorders by detoxifying the blood and promoting blood circulation to the skin, which can help cure eczema and psoriasis and also improve the quality and texture of the skin and hair. (11)
- Due to the presence of inulin in Burdock, which is a dietary fiber, glucose absorption in the blood can be slowed down, making it a beneficial herb for the prevention and management of diabetes. (10)
- It improves the function of kidneys due to its diuretic properties, which also decrease the risk of formation of stones in the ureter. (12)
- One of its very important functions is its ability to lower blood pressure due to the presence of potassium in high quantities, which helps dilate/open your blood vessels. By doing so, it may minimize the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. (13)
After learning about all these benefits, one could ask themselves,
“how can I possibly get these in my regular wellness routine?”
Can we be real about this? We all know that with the growing competitiveness and fast-paced nature of the modern world, we barely get any time for ourselves. No matter how much researchers and healthcare professionals try to convince us about the importance of taking care of our health in order to maximize our performance and emotional well- being, it becomes hard to manage EVERYTHING. Therefore, it’s important that we explore options that can easily become a part of your routine and provide you with all the nutrients your body may be missing.
Supplements have definitely made our life a lot easier. Gummies can be a better option because of course, you’d want to look forward to something that tastes good and is easy to access. Gummies, packed with extracts from all three of these components, not only offer a practical solution but a sustainable one in the long run.
"These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."
We highly encourage anyone who is pregnant, nursing or has a medical condition to consult their healthcare provider whenever taking a new dietary supplement.
Lastly, don’t just take our word for it. Check out all the references below for more details about all the benefits covered and do your own research when considering adding something to your wellness routine.
- Liu, J., Kandasamy, S., Zhang, J., Kirby, C. W., Karakach, T., Hafting, J., Critchley, A. T., Evans, F., & Prithiviraj, B. (2015). Prebiotic effects of diet supplemented with the cultivated red seaweed Chondrus crispus or with fructo-oligo-saccharide on host immunity, colonic microbiota and gut microbial metabolites. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 15, 279. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-015-0802-5
- National Center for Biotechnology Information (2020). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 4875, Potassium iodide. Retrieved September 19, 2020 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Potassium-iodide.
- Liu, J., Banskota, A. H., Critchley, A. T., Hafting, J., & Prithiviraj, B. (2015). Neuroprotective effects of the cultivated Chondrus crispus in a C. elegans model of Parkinson's disease. Marine drugs, 13(4), 2250–2266. https://doi.org/10.3390/md13042250
- Antoniou, L. D., Shalhoub, R. J., Sudhakar, T., & Smith, J. C., Jr (1977). Reversal of uraemic impotence by zinc. Lancet (London, England), 2(8044), 895–898. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(77)90832-7
- Sangha, J. S., Wally, O., Banskota, A. H., Stefanova, R., Hafting, J. T., Critchley, A. T., & Prithiviraj, B. (2015). A Cultivated Form of a Red Seaweed (Chondrus crispus), Suppresses β-Amyloid-Induced Paralysis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Marine drugs, 13(10), 6407–6424. https://doi.org/10.3390/md13106407
- Choudhry, H., & Nasrullah, M. (2018). Iodine consumption and cognitive performance: Confirmation of adequate consumption. Food science & nutrition, 6(6), 1341–1351. https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.694
- Wells, M. L., Potin, P., Craigie, J. S., Raven, J. A., Merchant, S. S., Helliwell, K. E., Smith, A. G., Camire, M. E., & Brawley, S. H. (2017). Algae as nutritional and functional food sources: revisiting our understanding. Journal of applied phycology, 29(2), 949–982. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10811-016-0974
- Afonso, N. C., Catarino, M. D., Silva, A., & Cardoso, S. M. (2019). Brown Macroalgae as Valuable Food Ingredients. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 8(9), 365. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox8090365
- Catarino, M. D., Silva, A., & Cardoso, S. M. (2018). Phycochemical Constituents and Biological Activities of Fucus spp. Marine drugs, 16(8), 249. https://doi.org/10.3390/md16080249
- Lee, D., & Kim, C. Y. (2017). Influence of Roasting Treatment on the Antioxidant Activities and Color of Burdock Root Tea. Preventive nutrition and food science, 22(1), 21–29. https://doi.org/10.3746/pnf.2017.22.1.21
- Chan, Y. S., Cheng, L. N., Wu, J. H., Chan, E., Kwan, Y. W., Lee, S. M., Leung, G. P., Yu, P. H., & Chan, S. W. (2011). A review of the pharmacological effects of Arctium lappa (burdock). Inflammopharmacology, 19(5), 245–254. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10787-010-0062-4
- Mizuki, A., Tatemichi, M., Nakazawa, A., Tsukada, N., Nagata, H., & Kinoshita, Y. (2019). Effects of Burdock tea on recurrence of colonic diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding: An open-labelled randomized clinical trial. Scientific reports, 9(1), 6793. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43236-0
- Treasure, J., & Ploth, D. (1983). Role of dietary potassium in the treatment of hypertension. Hypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979), 5(6), 864–872. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.hyp.5.6.864