Seaweeds are true wonder foods, whilst herbs offer the body unique nourishment and nutrients that may not be otherwise offered, due to poor diet or environmental deficiencies in the air and soil. Seaweed superfoods are the most nutritionally dense superfoods on the planet because they have access to all of the nutrients and minerals within the ocean.
Herbs, as medicine, are essential body balancers that work with the body functions so that it can heal and regulate itself. Herbs have been used for centuries as part of wise, natural healing methods. Herbs are best used in their whole form rather than isolating effective plant constituents so-called ‘active ingredients’.
Aloe Vera–Aloe vera juice contains leaf pulp that is rich in natural nutrients and fibre. This well-known herbal remedy for the skin also has many benefits for internal healing, cleansing and repair when ingested as a nutritional drink. However, it can cause also adverse side effects and reactions and should only be taken as directed. Do not consume aloe vera that is not made for internal use and consult your doctor before self-medicating for any reason.
The aloe vera plant is a perennial succulent that grows in the wild and thrives in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Aloe vera has been used since the times of Kemet as skin moisturiser and burn healer. It is also effective for treating cuts, bruises, acne and eczema. Aloe has been deemed a superfood after research which suggests it contains over seventy healing compounds such as natural steroids, antibiotic agents, amino acids, minerals and enzymes.
Aloe vera may also have similar benefits on the lining of the digestive tract, when ingested as a drink. A review published in theBritish Journal of General Practicenotes that aloe vera decreases irritation and enhances healing and repair of ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Aloe vera juice also helps to decrease inflammation in irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and other inflammatory disorders of the gut. Additionally, aloe vera can increase healthy bacteria in the intestines that aid digestion. This is mostly due to the high concentration of natural sulphur (MSM) that it contains. Aloe juices alkalises the digestive tract, preventing over-acidity, a common cause of indigestion, acid reflux, heartburn and ulcers.
Taking aloe vera internally may also help improve blood circulation in the body. A clinical study published in the medical journalAngiologyreported that aloe vera may help decrease total fat levels in patients with high cholesterol. This helps to reduce fatty deposits and blood clots in the arteries of the heart.[i]
Nettle–This plant is extremely effective in removing unwanted pounds. A cup of nettle tea every morning is ideal for bowel movements. Nettle is best known as a stinging plant, but when the nettle leaves are dried and then eaten, the sting is neutralised by the saliva in your mouth.
Nettle leaves increase thyroid function, increase metabolism and release mucus in the colon, allowing for the flushing of excess wastes and aiding in detoxification. Nettle has been used for centuries to treat allergy symptoms, particularly hay fever, which is the most common allergy problem. Decongestants, antihistamines, allergy shots and even prescription medications such as Allegra and Claritin treat only the symptoms of allergies and tend to lose effectiveness over a period of time. They can also cause drowsiness, dry sinuses, insomnia and high blood pressure. Nettle has none of these side effects. It can be used on a regular basis and has an impressive number of other benefits, most notably as a treatment for prostate enlargement.
An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding. It is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, and arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints like eczema. Externally, the plant is used to treat skin complaints, arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids and hair problems. You can visit a homoeopath, drink nettle tea or simply go and pick wild nettles and add them into your favourite fresh green juice!
Kelp–Also known as brown algae, kelp is the most common seaweed found along the ocean shores. Its thick leaves make it perfect for a hot seaweed bath. It is also available in supplement form.
Excellent source of vitamins and minerals: kelp has been shown to contain 46 minerals, 16 amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and eleven different vitamins. Prominent among the minerals are iodine, salt, iron, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. The lead vitamins in kelp are vitamin A and niacin.
– Helps in thyroid gland regulation:Due to kelp’s high levels of natural iodine, it is essential in regulating your thyroid hormones and therefore our metabolism and energy levels.
– Helps with hydration:This may be particularly important to note when you have been ill or exposed to too much heat and sun. Make a soup or broth with kelp in order to rehydrate quickly.
– Assists in weight management and weight loss: Due to kelp's iodine content and its role in thyroid function, one of kelp’s benefits is improving metabolism and energy. An iodine deficiency can slow your metabolic function by as much at 50 per cent, so including kelp can naturally and significantly improve weight loss and other associated health problems.
– Improves body pH:Kelp is an alkaline food and therefore an essential part of maintaining acid-base balance in the body and an effective component in a healthy acid-alkaline diet.
– Protects against radiation poisoning:Once again, due to kelp's high natural iodine levels, it prevents the thyroid from up-taking harmful levels of radioactive iodine present after a nuclear disaster. This has been particularly important since the recent nuclear fallout in Japan in 2011.
– Cancer prevention:Kelp prevents cancer particularly in estrogenic sensitive cancers such as breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers.
Why does this little-known plant work so well? Dr. D.C. Jarvis, author of Folk Medicine (Galahad, 1996), points out that the composition of the human body and of seawater are the same. It's only practical, he suggests, that people should turn to the sea to supplement mineral needs.
Dulse–A red seaweed that can be bought either whole or as flakes. Dulse sold as flakes does not need to be soaked and can be added straight to any meal. Whole dulse is better soaked, drained of water and sliced before adding to your dish. It is great to use as seasoning on salads, vegetables and soups.
Dulse is considered a superfood because of its high iodine and potassium content, in addition to its long list of micro-nutrients and phytochemicals. Many herbalists prefer dulse over kelp in green superfood recipes because of its neutral flavour. Found primarily in cold waters off the Atlantic coast of Canada, Ireland and Norway, dulse has been used traditionally to control parasites, treat scurvy and improve thyroid function. Dulse is a scientifically proven antioxidant, a source of plant protein and is often suggested as a part of healing protocols to correct hypothyroid issues.
Dulse may be best known for its high iodine content. A natural source of iodine is critical for patients suffering from hypothyroid symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, hypothyroid symptoms include:
-Dry skin and face
-Muscle aches and pains
-Unusual sensitivity to cold temperatures
-A lower-than-normal basal body temperature
-Headaches and migraines
-Brittle and peeling nails
-High blood cholesterol
-Weight gain or obesity
-Heavy periods in females
This seaweed has also been demonstrated to inhibit the growth of lipid (fat) cells in laboratory conditions. This is extremely important, as environmental toxins are believed to be causing an increase in a host of auto-immune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
The combination of constant stress, environmental pathogens and malnutrition is burning out many people's immune systems. Utilising dulse and other antioxidants helps to repair compromised body tissues.
[i]Aloe Vera. Fact Sourced from Healthyeating.sfgate.com. Conscious Eating Blog, Written by Nadia Harrishealthyeating.sfgate.com/health-risks-benefits-taking-aloe-vera-juice-internally-5017.