Kombu, bladderwrack and sea spaghetti
These three seaweeds — kombu, bladderwrack and sea spaghetti — are some of the oldest and hardiest plant species from one of the harshest environments on the planet. Here’s why this magic trio is good for your skin and your body.
Cultures in Asia have known about the benefits of seaweed since ancient times. Native peoples from Iceland, Europe and New Zealand have all embraced it, whether eating it or using it in health-giving rituals. In the UK we are only just starting the journey and the Cornish Seaweed Co. has been at the forefront of this initiative, pioneering hand-harvesting techniques and paving the way for other UK harvesters.
Three of the hardiest, most nutrient-rich species our team harvest are in all included in our formulations, kombu, bladderwrack and sea spaghetti. We have extracted the natural goodness from these potent species for our unique Living Sea Complex®, which goes into every one of our products.
Tough wild Cornish seaweeds
“These three seaweeds are remarkable,” says Tim van Berkel, co-founder of the Cornish Seaweed Co. “They have all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements your body needs, more than every other plant — I do wonder why it has taken us so long to appreciate their benefits in the UK.”
Tim and co-founder, Caro Warwick-Evans, have been sustainably hand-harvesting seaweed from Cornwall’s cobalt waters since 2012 and have even helped to write the code of conduct with Natural England, outlining harvesting best practice.
“These seaweeds thrive in the one of the toughest environments on the planet,” says Caro. ”They grow at shallow depths as they need sunlight, and they are exposed to direct sun, wind and rain twice a day during low tide. They are bashed by crashing Cornish Atlantic waves and survive rip currents and high winds. All these things are big stress factors, but they have evolved their coping mechanisms with changes in salinity and temperatures over billions of years, and it is these mechanisms that make them so good for our bodies.”
Our pharmacy under the sea
Key constituents that makes seaweeds so hardy are ‘alginates’, which lock in moisture. They provide the same effect when you put them on your skin, helping to prevent it from drying out. They nourish, hydrate, and soften skin and soothe dryness, acne, psoriasis and eczema flare-ups, as well as removing toxins and cleansing pores, encouraging firmer skin tone and improving overall skin elasticity.
All three seaweeds in our Living Sea Complex® are packed full of magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc, essential elements for life. They are also rich in natural vitamins, especially A, B, C, D, E, and K.
Our seaweeds contain anti-oxidants and have anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. They are age-old treatments for conditions like arthritis, thyroid disorders and digestive problems. They help reduce cholesterol, reduce fat deposits, battle cellulite, increase blood circulation and stimulate the immune system .
Pretty clever stuff. This is superfood from the sea, for your skin.
Atlantic kombu — underwater goodness
Also known as kelp, kombu is how most people imagine ‘seaweeds to be’. You’ll see this large dark-brown species washed up on the beach or in kelp forests just below the waves. Kombu contains high levels of iodine, magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamins B7 and D. According to research from 2011,* the constituents within kombu also provide the following health benefits, with new ones being discovered regularly*:
- Reduce cholesterol, stimulate the immune system and help normalise blood pressure
- Protect against irradiation and help in wound repair
- Help fight HIV, Alzheimers, E. coli and Staphylococcus
Bladderwrack — our original source of iodine
You’ll see this familiar, olive-brown seaweed attached to rocks around the tide line, growing up to two metres. This species was the original source of iodine, first discovered in 1811. In the days before modern medicine, bladderwrack was the only source of iodine for medicinal purposes. Iodine is an essential trace element vital for normal growth. It removes toxins and heals wounds, being a natural antiseptic. It is also essential for thyroid health and to ensure that hormones and metabolism remain in healthy balance. It is also a great source of beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and some of the B vitamins.
Sea spaghetti — immune system booster
Sea spaghetti is also a large brown seaweed, but not closely related to the kelps or the wracks. It grows up to three metres long and can form large dense mats near the Cornish shoreline covering large areas. It contains fewer minerals and vitamins than most other seaweeds, it is rich in compounds known to help the immune system. Sea spaghetti is high in magnesium, manganese, (great for healthy bones) and calcium, as well as vitamins B2, C, B7 and E.
* Holdt & Kraan 2011 – Bioactive compounds in seaweed: functional food applications and legislation. Journal of Applied Phycology Bladderwrack — the original source of iodine