Another post from my aromatherapy blog...
Originally published: Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Aug/Sep 2005 Newsletter
Seaweed is our topic this month...
What is Seaweed?
Seaweed has long been reputed to remineralize and detoxify the body, revitalize the skin and heal wounds. In fact, French studies have shown that the minerals in seaweed do have the ability to penetrate the skin. But, can seaweed really reduce wrinkles, tighten the skin, and eliminate cellulite?
When it comes to skin, there's a lot to like about seaweed. It's packed with minerals, and nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and essential fatty acids. However, to realize seaweed's full effects on the skin, the right amount must be applied. Most of the products on the market today contain miniscule amounts of seaweed and seaweed extracts. Hardly enough to make a difference on the skin, even when applied regularly.
Another consideration is that seaweed should be as pure as possible to ensure that its minerals and vitamins are retained. Buying dried seaweed, in its original sheet form, at the local health food store is one of the best ways to reap its benefits for the body. To maximize the benefits of the seaweed and to increase its penetration into the skin, the skin should be dry brushed with a natural bristle brush first to stimulate the outer layer of the skin.
Possibly, the best way to reap the benefits of seaweed is to incorporate it into your daily diet. It's no secret that what you put into your body ultimately reflects on the outside. Chopped seaweed can be tossed in salads, eaten with sushi, sprinkled into soups, and used in baked goods like cookies and breads.
Despite all its benefits, there is one seaweed claim that may not hold water. Seaweed has long been reported as a cure for cellulite. Most experts agree and studies have shown that seaweed does not cure cellulite. Cellulite is largely genetic, has nothing to do with how fit you are, and is virtually impossible to get rid of. Most of the products on the market today can only improve the appearance of cellulite and they do not contain seaweed as an active ingredient. The underlying cellulite is still there waiting for you to stop using the product so that it can make its comeback. If you can't afford the expensive spa treatments that are used nowadays to treat cellulite, an easy and cheap remedy is regular and vigorous massage of the affected area. This can be incorporated into a daily dry brushing routine.
Seaweed comes in several different forms:
Kelp-(Laminaria), the most prolific sea plant on America's shores, contains vitamins A, B, E, D and K, is a main source of vitamin C and rich in minerals.
Dulse-(Palmariapalmata), rich in iron, protein, and vitamin A, is delicious with walnuts, spinach and rice.
Kombu-(Laminaria digitata, setchelli, horsetail kelp) is a meaty, high-protein seaweed.
Hijiki-is a mineral-rich, high-fiber seaweed, with 20 percent protein, vitamin A, carotenes and calcium. Hijiki has the most calcium of any sea green, 1400 mg per 100 gr. of dry weight.
Wakame-(Alaria, undaria) is a high- protein, high- calcium seaweed, with carotenes, iron and vitamin C and is widely used in the Orient for hair growth and luster and for skin tone.
Nori-(Porphyra, laver) is a red sea plant with a sweet, meaty taste when dried.
Arame-(Eisenia bycyclis) is one of the ocean's richest sources of iodine.
Sea Palm-(Postelsia palmaeformis), American arame, grows only on the Pacific coast of North America. It has a sweet, salty taste that goes especially well as a vegetable, rice or salad topping.
Bladderwrack-Bladderwrack is packed with vitamin K, an excellent adrenal stimulant.
Irish moss-(Chondrus crispus, carrageen) is full of electrolyte minerals--calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.
Recipe- Seaweed Mineral Spa Bath
High quality, dried seaweed can be purchased at health food stores. The cost is about $15.00 for a dried pound, which is enough for about five baths.
1. Boil water in a large pot filled about 3/4 full and remove from heat.
2. Add about 3 ounces of seaweed to hot water and steep for thirty minutes.
3. Fill bath with water, add seaweed "tea" to bath—seaweed and all.
4. Add 2 drops cypress essential oil, 3 drops lemon essential oil, 1 drop juniper essential oil, 1 drop lavender essential oil to the bath, if desired.
5. Relax in bath for twenty to thirty minutes.
6. Rub seaweed gently over skin, if desired, to transfer seaweed's gel to skin surface.
For best results do not rinse seaweed residue off skin for at least an hour. After your bath, pat skin dry with a towel, wrap yourself in a soft, warm robe, drink water to rehydrate and relax! Repeat once a week for one month. If you have thyroid problems, please consult your physician first.