Tuesday 27 March 2018

What Makes Bladderwrack Perfect for Thyroid Health

Bladderwrack is an oddly named plant with a lot of potential health benefits. Bladderwrack is a type of algae and seaweed. It also goes by names like black tang, rockweed, sea oak, and rock wrack.

If you’re in an area where bladderwrack grows naturally, then you can easily pick some of your own. Bladderwrack grows in cold ocean waters, and is found mostly on the United States’ northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts and Europe’s Baltic coast.

Bladderwrack that is ready to be harvested will have fully inflated bladders. These bladders (which the plant gets its name from) are how you can identify them. Bladderwrack has a tough central stem (called the thallus) that is full of air-filled pods, or “bladders.” When they are inflated they help the plant float on the surface of the water.

Bladderwrack Benefits

Although bladderwrack has a strange name (and a strange appearance), there are a lot of reasons you might want to incorporate it into your diet. These are three main components of bladderwrack, iodine, alginic acid, and fucoidan, that are believed to provide it potential medicinal benefits.


Bladderwrack is most often associated with iodine. Seawater and soil naturally contain iodine, so plants like bladderwrack that grow and live in seawater absorb and contain large quantities of iodine. All types of seaweed, including kelp, dulse, and nori, contain iodine. However, because they derive iodine from their environment the amount of iodine present in bladderwrack varies.

Iodine is an essential element that helps to regulate thyroid hormone production. Our bodies do not naturally make iodine, so we need to get it from outside sources. A lack of iodine can lead to an enlarged thyroid or hypothyroidism. 

Alginic Acid

Alginic acid is a type of dietary fiber that may provide temporary relief from occasional constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and heartburn (though human studies have not been completed to confirm this). Some components of alginic acid such as calcium alginate and the sodium salt of alginic acid have been found to support healthy-looking skin and abdominal comfort.


Fucoidan is a dietary fiber that may support cholesterol and glucose levels already within the normal range, may support the immune system, and clotting factors. 

How to Take Bladderwrack

Bladderwrack is most commonly taken in a supplement, tablet, extract, or powder form. However, there are also ways to cook bladderwrack and incorporate it into your diet.

Bladderwrack Egg Drop Soup

To make this simple soup, you will first mince leeks, ginger, and turmeric and fry them in sesame oil. Bladderwrack is then added to the pan and lightly fried, and then spiced with black pepper and chili flakes. Add some water to start the broth, and add rice noodles (if desired). Finalize the soup by incorporating egg and miso. See the full directions for this soup here.

Mile High Wild Pie

The best part of this recipeis its versatility. Most ingredients can be subbed in for other ingredients. You should include some wild coastal green, fresh wild fungi, your choice of woodland or hedgerow greens, and herbs or flavorings available to you. The directions for this one are a little more involved, so you’ll want to follow this recipe, but as a whole, it’s a recipe that makes natural use of bladderwrack as an ingredient.

By Itself

The bladders of the bladderwrack can also be eaten on their own. After the bladders are separated from the frond and dried, they can simply be eaten as is. If you’re a fan of seaweed flavorings, you’ll enjoy bladderwrack.

Have you found a better way to enjoy bladderwrack? Are you in a location where you can find and pick your own?

1 comment:

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