Bladderwrack Common names Parts used Uses Other medical uses Habitat and cultivation Research Constituents Usual dosage Applications Thalli Endocrine strengthener Slimming powder


Fucus vesiculosus

Herbs gallery - Bladderwrack

Common names

  • Black Tany
  • Bladder Fucus
  • Bladderwrack
  • Cutweed
  • Hai-ts'ao
  • Kelpware
  • Rockweed
  • Sea Oak
  • Seaweed
  • Seawrack
The seaweed called the bladderwrack is a very common sight along many areas of the seashore in the New England area and the Eastern seaboard of the American continent, it is also called the bladderwrack because of the bladder like pneumatic floats attached to the branches - it is found predominantly in the rocky beaches and areas which have some well defined low tide water marks on the shoreline. The bladderwrack is seaweed, and has an olive green coloration, it is also spread out in regular branches, with each of the branches characterized by a peculiar spiraling shape, and the seaweed has a leathery feel and is slippery to the touch. Like most underwater sea weeds, the bladderwrack has paired bladders, though some of the branches may sometimes be without any air bladders - these pneumatic structures keep the bladderwrack floating in the tossing waters of the sea shore. The leaf life branches has a distinct and well marked midrib, while the stipe remains without definite branching of any sort because of its origin from a disc shaped holdfast by which the sea weed anchors itself to the underlying substratum. As an herbal remedy, medications based on the bladderwrack are used in the rectification of a reduction in the normal level of glandular secretions. Herbalist suggests that taking a simple clear broth made from either fresh or dried bladderwrack can result to the resolution of such problems in the body of patients. Glandular activity in the body is increased by the bladderwrack broth, normally the boiled liquid is strained and then consumed like a soup, used this way the bladderwrack is known to be a very sweet and delicious broth.

Parts used

Whole herb.


The main use of the bladderwrack as an herbal remedy is based on its high content of the essential mineral iodine, as an herbal remedy the bladderwrack is used in the form of an anti-goiter medication - the success rate of such treatments is very high. The main action of the remedy is in bringing about an increase in the thyroid glands production of hormones, the bladderwrack does this by raising the metabolic rate and functioning of the gland, at the same time, impaired thyroids seem to respond best to the treatment and the bladderwrack may not promote the same metabolic increases in healthy glands. In another role, various rheumatic conditions are also believed to be rectifiable by the use of the bladderwrack based remedies.

Other medical uses

Habitat and cultivation

Harvesting of the bladderwrack is conducted throughout the year as the seaweed growth is not limited by seasons; the bladderwrack is native seaweed of the shores along the North Atlantic and in some areas of the western Mediterranean shoreline.


A comparative trail on weight loss demonstrated that patients on bladderwrack tended to lose much more weight than those who did not, this trial was conducted in Italy in the year 1976, and it involved a comparison between a controlled group given no bladderwrack and a test group given bladderwrack as a food supplement.


Bladderwrack contains phenols, polysaccharides, and minerals, especially iodine (up to 0.1%). The polysaccharides are immune-stimulant. The iodine may stimulate the thyroid gland.

Usual dosage

The bladderwrack can be taken as an useful dietary supplement in the form of tablets or it can be taken in the form of an infusion that can be prepared by pouring a cup of boiling water over two to three teaspoonfuls of the dried herb, and letting the herb steep in this water for ten minutes by leaving it closed with a lid. The resulting infusion can be drunk thrice every day as a part of the treatment.



TINCTURE - The tincture prepared from the bladderwrack can be used in the treatment of a thyroid deficiency, it acts within the body by gently stimulating the metabolic processes, and this form of the remedy is also very effective in the treatment of all types of rheumatic disorders affecting patients. INFUSION - The bladderwrack can also be used in the form of an herbal tincture to treat a variety of conditions affecting different patients. The bladderwrack in this form is often utilized in various programs to reduce the weight of obese individuals; this is particularly effective where the obesity has come about due to very slow metabolism in the person. At the same time, this treatment using infusion of bladderwrack is not to be taken as some quick technique at losing weight and is only for the use of specific individuals, it is not a magical weight loss agent. TABLETS/CAPSULES - Bladderwrack is also taken in the form of herbal tablets and capsules, these are normally used to stimulate the metabolic rate in the body, and dosage can vary from three to six tablets or capsules every day. In people affected by obesity due to thyroid under activity, these tablets and capsules may be able to bring about significant loss in body weight. INFUSED OIL - The bladderwrack is also used to make infused herbal oil, this can be prepared by macerating about half a kilo of the dried bladderwrack and soaking it in half a liter of sunflower oil, this can then be left overnight to allow the herb to infuse into the oil. Once this infused oil has been prepared, the oil can then be heated in a water bath for up to two hours and then carefully strained to remove the particulate matter in the oil. The oil thus prepared can be used topically as a rub for the treatment of rheumatism and the pains resulting from arthritic joints in the body.

Endocrine strengthener

This herbal formula is actually a potent blend of a number of roots and it has a somewhat bitter flavor. Owing to its bitter taste it is advisable that you use this formulation either in the form of a tincture or in capsule or powder forms. The endocrine strengthener is given to young women enduring severe symptoms of hormonal imbalance like acne, profuse bleeding, delayed menses and/ or painful menstruation. The recommended dosage of this herbal formulation is taking two '00' capsules daily - one in the morning and another in the evening. Alternatively, it can be taken in tincture form in dosage of 1/4 teaspoon thrice every day.

Slimming powder

  • 1 1/3 oz (50 g) bladderwrack powder
  • 1 oz (30 g) marshmallow
  • 3/4 oz (20 g) licorice powder
Combine all the ingredients and preserve in a glass jar away from light. Take 1 T (15 g) powder before meals, diluted in 1/2 cup (125 ml) warm water. This mixture fills the stomach, produces a loss of appetite and softens the digestive mucous membranes. It provokes weight loss and acts as a laxative and a tonic. Caution: Do not consume any sugar, brewer's yeast or too much starch at the same time, for there is a risk of too much gas!
From Maria - Feb-20-2013
I discovered bladderwrack off the rocky coast of Leckmelm Gardens near Ullapool Scotland. The autumn-rust color lulled me. Malted barley was grown in fields fertilized with bladderwrack seaweed. They also amended peaty soils in the highlands by mixing bladderwrack with hay and folding it into the soil before potato crops were planted.
What thrilled me most was a beer, brewed by Fraoch Brewery, marketed as Kelpie Seaweed Ale. It was fantastic! I wish our local pubs served it. Luckily our local Food Co-op has the sense to stock the bulk bladderwrack for broth. Now, if only I knew a good brewer.

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