By Lelia Lyon, Certified Herbalist

Kelp, Bullwhip Kelp, Nereocystis leukeana

Parts used

Medicinal Properties
Reaching up to absorb the sun's energy, kelp is bathed in the mineral rich ocean, providing a super food that is prized for its medicinal and nutritional gifts. In land-locked Colorado, consuming a vegetable from the sea provides us with vitamins and minerals we might not normally get in our diet. Kelp is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, and vitamins A, the B's, D and K. Most minerals, vitamins and trace minerals are present in kelp, making it a nutrient powerhouse that can fill in the blanks caused by nutrient depleted soil. It's important to note that in Colorado (and other land-locked states) our soil is iodine poor, making kelp an ideal food.

Medicinally speaking kelp is protective, nutritive, and supportive to the nervous system. As a protective food, it can block the absorbency of radioactive isotopes and help the body detoxify and excrete them. As a nutrient rich food, it is perfect for individuals who feel depleted and tired. By having such an array of nutrients, particularly magnesium, the nervous system is able to function optimally. All these amazing therapeutic properties make kelp a great daily tonic helping to optimize health.

Preparations & Applications
Dried kelp is delicious consumed straight and can be consumed as a nutrient rich alternative to salt. Tasting distinctly salty, it starts out crisp like a potato chip and then becomes smooth and silky in your mouth. Crumble liberally over salads and soups, use as a seasoning for rice dishes, and sprinkle on popcorn for a yummy treat.

Recipe Herbal Gomasio
Gomasio is a delicious condiment to leave on your table and use like salt. Rich and flavorful, it is high in vitamins and minerals and is a perfect compliment to vegetable dishes, salads, rice and meat dishes.
1/4 cup white or brown sesame seeds
1 tbls. kelp pieces
1 tsp. nettle flakes
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet, stirring often until they release their aroma and darken, add the kelp pieces and toast just for another minute. Take off the heat and let cool. Add the nettles and grind the combination just until the seeds are broken and the herbs are in smaller pieces. Store the mixture on your table so you use it often!

Healing Wise by Susan Weed (an amazing resource for scientific literature on the benefits and uses of seaweeds)