Kelp (Kun Bu)
Botanical Name: Western – Algae/Laminariales (brown algae family), Ascophyllum nodosum. Eastern – Saccharina japonica.
Kelp has been celebrated as a food in Asian cultures for centuries. It is recognized in the West for its rich supply of iodine, iron, calcium, and potassium. All of which make it a wonderful food and medicine. Iodine is critical to the thyroids functions of making sex hormones and metabolizing fats.
Watch a short video about, “why I love Kelp (Kun Bu),” from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™.
Remember to check with your doctor before trying new medicines or herbal remedies, especially if you are taking other medication where drug interactions are possible.
Below is an overview of kelp, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of kelp.
Also Known As: Seaweed, Kelp Forests
Organs/Systems: Metabolism/Thyroid, Support to female cycles (menses, pregnancy and menopause)
Key Actions: Rich Source of Iodine, Anti-inflammatory, Anticancer, Antibacterial, Diuretic, Detoxifying, Antioxidant, Hormone Regulation
Medicinal Uses: Thyroid regulation and support, immune enhancement, cancer prevention, natural diuretic so aids detoxing, strengthens hair and nail growth, helps prevent anemia, supports female hormonal conditions: regulates menses, eases menopause, helps lactation, and induces labor. Helps protect against radiation and heavy metals, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar levels, diabetes, chronic hepatitis C, protects the brain, Parkinson’s disease.
Also Known As: Kombu in Japanese
Meridians: Spleen, Stomach, All Meridians
Key Actions: Clears Heat, Tonifies Yin, Strengthens the Spleen, Tonifies Stomach Qi, Dissolves Phlegm, Promotes Urination, Reduces Swelling, Strengthens Joints, Tonic, Eliminates Toxins
Medicinal Uses: Nodules, goiter, and feelings of heaviness or obstruction in the chest, leg edema, restless leg syndrome, aching joints, support Liver function and Kidney systems function, acute sore throat, bronchitis, coughs, improve blood clotting, cancer, anti-aging, skin health, psoriasis, aids removal of heavy metal and radioactive toxins, support immune function, reduces swellings, promotes hormonal health, infertility, bladder weakness, inflamed bladder, ovarian diseases, lowers cholesterol, insomnia, lowers blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, lymphatic swellings, swelling and pain of the testes, joint pain especially in the back and hips, sprains, bruising.
Kelps are fast growing, large seaweeds that belong to the brown algae in the order of Laminariales. They can grow to be 100-260 feet tall. They have leaf-like structures known as blades, which originate from stem-like structures called stipes. Gas filled bladders form at the base of blades in American species helping to keep the blades close to the surface of water.
It is thought the plant appeared in the Miocene period, 23 to 5 million years ago. Kelp grows in underwater “forests”, in nutrient rich shallow ocean waters, in temperatures of 43-57 degrees. Along the Norwegian coast it provides a high density ecosystem.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Blades
Flavors/Temps: Salty, Neutral, Cold, Dry
Caution: Considered safe used in proper doses. Overeating or dosing of iodine, found in high levels in kelp, can disrupt thyroid function. Too little iodine also harms the thyroid. Caution using during pregnancy.
Key Constituents: Rich in Iodine and Alkali. Alginate, Fucoidan, Vanadium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, and other Minerals (70 trace minerals and trace elements), Zinc, Antioxidants.
History/Folklore: Iodine is known for its support of thyroid functions, in particular, the creation of sex hormones and fat metabolizing (burning fat). Since medieval times it has been used to treat goiter. Farmed in the 19th century in Scotland to obtain soda ash (sodium carbonate), the crash in kelp pricing there led to the great emigration of the Scottish to the US in the 1820’s.
In Oriental medicine, kelp is known for Clearing Heat and Resolving Dampness. It is said that goiter that has become rock hard can only be treated with kelp. It is used to treat edema, hormonal imbalances, poor nutrition, cancer, and metabolic issues including weight control and fat burning. The Chinese often combine it with Hai Zao (Sargassi) to treat goiter and scrofula.
In Chinese slang “kelp” is used to describe an unemployed returnee (someone returning home after being dismissed). The negative overtones of this slang implies the person is drifting aimlessly with the homophonic expression meaning literally “sea waiting” versus the employed returnee who has the dynamic ability to travel across the ocean and is called the “sea turtle.”
Earliest evidence of human use comes from the Stone Age sites in Africa. It has been suggested that the growth of kelp around the Pacific Rim may have facilitated the early migration of humans across Northeast Asia into the Americas. It is called the “kelp highway hypothesis.”
Kelp is very efficient at creating methane and sugars that can be converted to ethanol, so it is possibly an eco-friendly energy source.
It is used in japan as a food and cooked with beans to reduce flatulence because it can help convert indigestible sugars.
Ice Cream Thickener
How to use Kelp to take FULL advantage of it's healing powers!
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