The medicinal part is the thallus.
Flower and Fruit
This brown algae grows up to 100 m long. Generations switch between sporophyte and gametophyte. The haploid male or female gametophytes are tiny plantlets. The 50 to 100 m long sporophyte is made up of rootlike rhizoids, a ropelike cauloid, and phylloids that are leaflike, coriaceous-thick sections with a large elongate to pear-shaped air-bladder at the base. The rhizoids form a conical adhesive disc of up to 1 m in diameter. The phylloids grow up to 1 m long, are attached to the cauloidlike leaflets and are covered with sporangia.
Found along the west coast of United States (primarily California) and along the coast of Chile.
Brown algae thallus is the dried thallus, usually only the phylloid, of Macrocystis pyrifera. (Macrocystis integrifolia may be added.) The algae are harvested using vessels called mowing ships.
Giant Kelp, Long-Bladder Kelp, Sea Kelp
Actions & Pharmacology
Alginic acid (15 to 20%)
Polysaccharides: fucoidan, laminaran
Iodine (0.1 to 0.5%): to some extent organically bound
Cyclitols: laminitol (4-C-methyl-meso-inositol)
Sugar alcohols: mannitol
Brown algae thallus serves chiefly as a source of iodine. The drug has also been demonstrated to have an influence on the immune system, as well as antiviral qualities. In a study with 400 women, the daily intake of 5.5 g of macrocystis powder over a period of 6 to 8 weeks led to an elevation of hemoglobin levels of 86% over normal values. Although licensed as a substance to aid weight loss, no adequate experimental data are available to support that effect.
Indications & Usage
Folk medicine uses include weight reduction. The drug is used as a commercial pharmaceutical preparation in the U.S. for anemia in pregnancy. In Japan the drug is used for hypertension.
Brown Kelp should not be used by individuals with a familial disposition to thyroid illness or hyperthyroidism.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
No health hazards are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.
Long-term administration of daily dosages that exceed 150 mcg iodine carry with them the danger of worsening an existing hyperthyroidism. Quantities over 300 mcg iodine per day can precipitate hyperthyroidism.
Mode of Administration
Brown Kelp preparations are available for internal use.
Store in tightly sealed container.