Although historically, many coastal inhabitants have harvested seaweed for different reasons, today we get the opportunity once more to use some of the natural healing properties of the sea. When used on the skin, for example, seaweed is rich in minerals and fatty acids with their powerful rejuvenating properties and ideal for helping to improve acne and other skin conditions.
As a food source, you come across seaweed as a wrapping for a sushi roll but perhaps never considered buying a bag of seaweed at the grocery store. If you do, such seaweed is filled with antioxidants, calcium and a broad range of vitamins too although seaweed’s best-known benefit is iodine -- a nutrient that is missing in virtually every other food. Ensuring good levels of iodine helps maintain a healthy thyroid, that gland in your neck that assists in producing and regulating hormones.
A member of the algae family, edible seaweed typically comes in three varieties: brown, red and green. Common names are sea fennel, sea buckthorn, kelp, Irish moss, bladderwrack and more.
Back to skin benefits and you can make your own seaweed bath product!
If you have access to your own supply of seaweed, find a clean ocean pool where you can cut fronds of bladderwrack before rinsing in a bucket of clean seawater. You can either use it immediately or dry the seaweed out in the sun (keeping a supply for future baths). When dried, the fronds will rehydrate as you add them to water. Once you are in your warm, soaking bath, rub them all over your body to nourish any dry patches on the skin - especially if you are an eczema sufferer. And the good news is that you can re-use those precious fronds up to three times.
No access to fresh seaweed? Then you can buy the dried version from a local health store or online.
Another bath product is to use an Irish organic seaweed bath sponge (available online). Simply made of dried brown seaweed, the product is soaked in organic seaweed soap. Gently perfumed with organic essential oils, the sponge is then hand packed in tulle net making it easy to use. Soak the sponge in warm water so that seaweed starts to release a beneficial gel, used to massage the skin of your body while the tulle net acts like a gentle scrub tool to remove any dead skin.
Along with seaweed, don't forget another gift from the sea and that is sea salt.
Ocean swimming is naturally beneficial to the skin, leaving it clearer and softer and in the case of psoriasis, eczema and acne, soothing the itchy symptoms and providing another type of treatment. Natural sea salt scrubs are easy to make by mixing sea salt with olive oil before rubbing onto the body and using a sweeping application on the legs and arms towards the heart area. This will boost circulation and help remove toxins.
Those who prefer to live more naturally can now turn to the sea for a little bit of extra help in their quest.
Jane Chitty writes regularly for Healing Natural Oils, a producer and retailer of high-quality, all-natural treatments for a variety of conditions (including acne, arthritis, moles, warts, skin tags and many more). After living for many years in in Cape Town, South Africa, she has now settled in the UK but is able to spend some time in the USA because of close family living there. She loves to compare natural treatments and lifestyles -- especially in the areas of health, green living and nutrition -- in these three very different countries. Her posts can be found at www.amoils.com.