Bladderwrack, kelp seaweed, kelp, herbs for obesity, supplements for health, herbs for health

Fucus vesiculous Fucaceae Also called Kelp.

Found in abundance on the rocky coastlines of cold and temperate seas, bladderwrack is characterised by its brownish green fronds that bear numerous fluid-jilled bulges or 'bladders'. The fronds can be up to 1 m long.

Parts used

Frond or thallus

Bladderwrack is collected from the coasts of the English Channel and the Atlantic in early to midsummer. . It is dried for use in powders, capsules, tablets, suspensions, gels and massage creams.


The main component of bladderwrack is alginic acid.The salts, called alginates, produce a sticky solution in water. Bladderwrack also contains polysaccharides, minerals (notably iodine) and a wide range of trace elements, including chromium.

Medicinal uses

Bladderwrack is an appetite suppressant and has long been used to treat obesity. Its iodine content supports the function of the thyroid gland, which needs iodine to make its hormone thyroxine.

Bladderwrack possesses antiinflammatory properties and is used to treat inflammatory bladder conditions, as well as in rheumatism. The alginates extracted from bladderwrack have a protective effect on the mucous membrane of the stomach lining and help to reduce acid reflux. Used externally, bladderwrack moisturises dry skin and is reputed to possess antibacterial qualities.

In 2002 Japanese researchers found that a daily application of seaweed extract improved the thickness and elasticity of the skin.


Prolonged use can lead to intolerance, the main symptom being the painful dilatation of the thyroid gland. This should disappear once you stop taking bladderwrack.

Bladderwrack can aggravate acne. . It should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding, nor by children under the age of 12.

It is inadvisable to take bladderwrack with aspirin and other blood-thinning preparations.


For internal use

TO TREAT obesity

INFUSION Put 1 sachet (2g) into 200ml of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Take one to three times daily.

CAPSULES (with a dose of 600mg of powder) Take 1 capsule a day with water.

For external use

TO TREAT dry skin CREAMS. GELS Apply to the affected area as directed.


Bladderwrack is gathered from the wild rather than cultivated but it should not be collected from polluted shores. Commercially sustainable harvesting is important to protect the plant.


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