In vitro tests in the 1950’s and 1960’s showed that some red algae are strongly antiviral. The ideas were developed by Robert Ellis and Natasha Calvin, who used scuba gear in SE Alaska to harvest three species of subtidal red algae to produce a mixture called Alaska Dulse. This was taken internally as a very effective treatment for SHINGLES.

Natasha has passed and Robert is no longer providing the Alaska Dulse. From Blue Moon Marine, Kim and Mark Donovan are test-marketing antiherpetic crèmes and lotions for cold sores, shingles and hopefully genital herpes. I have tried their products on recurring shingles with some lessening of lesion severity but not a great improvement. Clinical trials are underway in cooperation with the Bastyr University Clinic.

Strong antiviral activity has been observed in a variety of heavily modified carrageenans and research continues on how to use this in commercial medications. I do not know if occasional consumption of red seaweed gels will be antiviral.

One carrageenan derivative showed strong anti-HIV activity when delivered as a contraceptive vaginal foam.


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