Fucus (bladderwrack) for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Fucus (Fucus vesiculosus) is a plant of the Fucaceae family. Known for its laxative and slimming properties, it is useful for countercellulite and gastroesophageal reflux. Let’s find out better.

Properties of fucus

Fucus is a sea algae, of which thallus is used and contains  mucopolysaccharides (among which alginic acid, fucoidan and laminarine stands out), polyphenolsvitamins (especially B1, C, E), polyphenolstannins, plant sterols, pigments vegetable (fucoxanthin, beta-carotene) mineral salts (iodine, bromine, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron)

The iodine, absorbed from the sea, present in both inorganic and protein-bound form, is easily assimilated by the body and is concentrated in the thyroid, where it is incorporated into the thyroid hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These in turn stimulate the basal metabolism, accelerate the turnover, regulating the process of synthesis of fats by our body. The fucus therefore, carrying out a stimulating action of the metabolism, favors the thyroid function in case of hypothyroidism.

For this reason it is used as a slimming (excellent starter in diets to reduce overweight) in the treatment of cellulite, in obesity.In fact, the mucilages of which they are made up, once they reach the stomach, tend to absorb water up to five times their own weight, turning into a gelled mass whose volume contributes to the sense of satiety, thus decreasing the stimulus of hunger and allowing a lower caloric intake.

Furthermore, the mass created acts as a stimulant of peristalsis, that is, it promotes intestinal transit: it is in fact a mechanical laxative that can be used in case of constipation. Thanks to the sticky gels formed by these active ingredients, it is used against gastroesophageal reflux, by virtue of their anti-inflammatory and protective action on the mucous membrane of the stomach.

How to use


600-800 g of dry extract in tablets or capsules in the morning at breakfast

Mother tincture of fucus: 30-40 gc of in the morning at breakfast

Fucus is used in the formulations of muds and products against cellulite.

Contraindications of fucus

It is contraindicated in cardiopathic patients, in particular if they suffer from tachycardia arrhythmias, in severe arterial hypertension, in pregnancy and during breastfeeding.

It should not be used in patients with thyroid or hyperthyroid or hypothyroid diseases who take Eutirox, because, by adding together the effects, fucus can cause side effects such as tremors, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia and arterial hypertension. Do not use it for more than 6-8 weeks, and do not take it in the evening.

Description of the plant

The fucus is a marine alga with a thallus up to 2 meters long, soft and flattened, of an olive green color, divided into a rhizoid, or sucker-shaped basal disk with which it adheres to the rock, a stem provided with two flattened wing parts, and a bough, with dichotomous branching, which resolves into two ribbon-like laminae up to 5 cm wide, with a more or less evident median rib depending on the species.

At the extremity of some laminae, reproductive swellings occur. These are studded with protrusions that take the name of conceptacles and correspond to spherical cavities communicating with the outside through a canaliculus (ostiolo). They are swollen due to the presence of deposits of gelatinous substances, and contain female gametes (oospheres) or male gametes (anterozoids).

The habitat of the fucus

The majority of the species of the genus fucus inhabit the cold seas, however there are some with a wide tolerance for the temperate and warm regions which, however, lose the capacity for sexual reproduction.

Fucus vesiculosus is common in the British and Atlantic islands of America and northern Europe, it also grows along the rocky coasts of Morocco, reproducing only by fragmentation.

Historical notes

It seems that the ancients used fucus to dye red, to the anemic; is still called “goiter” due to hypothyroidism.

Both started from the observation of nature, since if the fucus dyes red and the blood is red, then this seaweed would help those who have weak blood; moreover, those who live near the sea almost never have problems with thyroid enlargement, while in the mountains, far from the influence of iodine, cases were and are much more frequent.

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