Herb Library: Natural Herbs and Herbal Supplements Directory: Kelp





This fact sheet provides basic information about Kelp. Kelp can be one of several brown-colored seaweed species called Laminar. Kelp is a vegetable found only in the sea that possesses high concentrations of useful minerals including iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.

L. bracteata Ag . ( L. japonica Aresch) is commonly used in soup, candy, and sushi, and eaten with rice or as a salad. The plant is harvested as kombu in the Far East and is cultivated in China, Korea, and Japan.

Common Names

Kelp, Brown Algae, Laminaria, Horsetail, Sea Girdles

Latin Names

Laminaria digitata

What It Is Used For

  • Laminaria has been used as a hygroscopic cervical dilator and inducer of labor. Other reported activity includes hypotensive and anticoagulant properties and absorption of radioactive strontium. However, an increased risk of infection in neonate and mother as well as potential increase in mortality in the neonate may limit its use.

How It Is Used

Laminaria tents ( Lamicel ) have been used for cervical dilation, therefore no dosing information is required.

What the Science Says

  • Laminaria may cause or contribute to maternal and neonatal infection. Use is contraindicated during pregnancy. Use may be contraindicated in patients taking medications for hyperthyroidism because of the plant's iodine content.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Laminaria may cause or contribute to maternal and neonatal infection. Avoid use.


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