ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is Bladderwrack all it's cracked up to be?

Updated on April 21, 2013

Bladderwrack; also known as Black Tang, Alga Noruega or Fucus Vesiculosis, is a type of seaweed found on sheltered shores in Cornwall in England. It is also common on the shores of the North Sea, The Pacific and Atlantic oceans and the Baltic Sea.

It is an edible brownish green seaweed which contains chemicals, minerals and volatile oils in varying proportions. The chemicals Algin, Potassium, Beta-Carotene, Bromine, Mannitol, Iodine, Mucilage and Zeaxanthin are all present. The plant is named because of the bladders or air sacs which help to keep it afloat.

Lady with goitre
Lady with goitre | Source

Generally only the central stalk of the Bladderwrack plant is used in medicine. It is reported to help quite a number of health conditions; the most well known use is for Thyroid problems such as Goitre and Hypothyroidism. As it is so rich in Iodine it is also used for Iodine deficiency. Other conditions it is used for are:

  • Arthritis
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety
  • Blood purifying
  • Bronchitis
  • Burns (topical use)
  • Constipation
  • Coughs
  • Digestive problems
  • Emphysema
  • Gnat Bites (topical use)
  • Heartburn
  • Immune System disorders
  • Menstrual regulation
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatism
  • Skin ageing and problems (topical use and oral use)
  • Urinary disorders


The thyroid gland is quite a complex gland as far as disorders are concerned. Before using any seaweed preparation I would suggest that you get your iodine levels checked via a urine test. If you are not actually deficient you could make matters worse by taking iodine rich supplements. Because the thyroid gland and its disorders are so complex many naturopaths do not fully understand it and all too readily prescribe bladderwrack and other such preparations. You should only take these if it is proven that you are actually iodine deficient. In recent years the number of people presenting with symptoms of Iodine deficiency has gone up more than fourfold in the US and UK. This is thought to be because of the discontinuation of use of iodised salt and of iodine in flour processing.

Iodised salt ad
Iodised salt ad | Source

© Susan Bailey 2013 All Rights Reserved


There is a lot of hype around regarding the slimming properties of bladderwrack. It was used as long ago as the 1860’s to stimulate thyroid function and increase the metabolism so that weight was lost.

There are a number of stories in the media about some high profile celebrity’s success stories with bladderwrack. There are also multitudes of slimming pills on sale worldwide containing seaweed, which are purported to work excellently in fighting the flab.

Recent research shows that some of the pills which additionally contain Lecithin or Galium Aparine do not work for weight loss. At most they may have diuretic or laxative effects. Maybe someone should tell Ms’s Beckham and Spears this as they apparently attribute their trim figures to this salty sea vegetable.


Although a natural substance; caution should be exercised when taking seaweed supplements for any of the above conditions. Prolonged periods of high doses are believed increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

If you are due to have surgery; discontinue usage at least 2 weeks before as bladderwrack may inhibit blood clotting.

Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding

May contain arsenic

Do not use if taking medication for goitre or Hyperthyroidism


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)