Medicinal Uses



Until 1935, pneumonia was the leading recorded cause human death in the USA. 100 years ago, five of the top ten causes of death in men were respiratory diseases.

Today, asthma is the leading cause of juvenile school absenteeism and is increasingly an affliction of adults.

Red algae containing carrageenan have been used for millennia as treatments for respiratory ailments, especially intractable sinus infections and lingering pneumonias. Asthma was not separated out as such in the old literature.

I use plain boiled-out carrageenan singly or in combination with strong antimicrobial herbs for all respiratory ailments. The process is simple:

  • Place an ounce of carrageenan-containing red seaweed in a food-grade mesh bag
  • Place the bag in a stainless steel boiler or ceramic “Crockpot” containing up to 1l of water.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for ½-4 hours. The bag of seaweed can be left in the crockpot, setting at LOW, for 8-12 hours, which means overnight for breakfast readiness.
  • Stir or otherwise pump the gel out of the mesh bag while simmering; this will move the dissolved gel out of the bag and allow more extraction. If this step is omitted, the gel may just thicken , clog the mesh pores, and remain a mess in the mesh bag
  • Pour off the fluid gel, while hot
  • If only one extraction is enough, hang the bag from something over a container and let more gel drip out
  • The red seaweed mass remaining in the mesh bag can be simmered and the gel fluid poured off again and again, up to 4-5 times with more gel extracted each time
  • The gel can be consumed as soon as cool. It can be flavoured with anything suitable from honey, fruit juice, cinnamon, cayenne, vanilla, maple syrup, cocoa powder, to various distilled spirits, herbal tinctures and milk.

    The extracted gel will keep cold without spoiling for only about two days. It is an excellent growth medium for microbes. Do not leave gel unused for more than two days in a refrigerator with out boiling again briefly to sterilize it.

    I recommend consuming at least a pint a day for children and a quart or more per day for adults up to a week or until respiratory symptoms resolve.

    In cases of obvious microbial infection, add strong herbs such as elecampange, osha, Lomatium, even garlic in the extraction bag, or as a separately-prepared tea mixture; tinctures can also be added to the gel after removing from boiler.

    The herbal-enhanced gels are usually good expectorants and can improve cough productivity.

    The first gel extracted is often very strongly seaweed- flavoured and unpalatable to children and those with a resistant sensitive nature. The flavourings listed above can mask the strong seaweed flavours.

    Those flavours are usually not present in the gel produced in second and more extraction episodes of the same bag of red seaweed.

    I think that cases of respiratory mycoplasma (often presenting as adult-onset asthma in people over 35) are helped by the gel with the addition of strong herbs, especially elecampagne.

    A soothing carrageenan gel variant is to use 5 parts red seaweed, and one part each : Usnea lichen, fennel seeds, marshmallow root (powdered) and hawthorn berries. This is very helpful for throats sore from excessive coughing.

    CAUTIONS for Red Seaweed Gel Use: Small amounts of carrageenan gel can help heal ulcers including ulcerative colitis. Large amounts may worsen alimentary ulcers and erosive bowel diseases, especially in the bowel if carrageenan successfully competes with the bowel membranes for water from the stool.


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