The iodine found in Bladderwrack is in highly bioavailable form because of the way it interacts with the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Iodine is known to stimulate metabolism which in turn leads to weight loss. A sluggish thyroid has long been known to contribute to weight gain and metabolic syndrome. Bladderwrack is also a rich source of fucoxanthin, a carotenoid that is currently being studied for its potential fat-burning effects.
Bladderwrack is not only rich in beta-carotene (plant-based vitamin A), it contains the nutrients fucoxanthin and fucoidan which Chinese scientists are heralding as the “eye nutrients of the future”. Whilst studies are still preliminary, researchers found that fucoidan may be effective against age-related macular degeneration because it reduces extraneous blood vessel growth where cells have not been receiving enough oxygen.
With a long history of traditional use, Bladderwrack was mentioned by the Greek physician Dioscorides in his “De Materia Medica”, where he recommended it for “gouty afflictions” and inflammation.
The Romans used this seaweed to soothe joint pains and as a treatment for tuberculosis.
In magical folklore, Bladderwrack is a herb of protection - especially for those sailing across the ocean. It was also used to increase psychic powers and for protection against mental derangement.