Seaweed-A Natural Treatment for Psoriasis
Whichever landmass you live on, at some point that landmass will be touched by the ocean: ancient, deep and mysterious.
We have an elemental connection to the ocean and we’ve been discovering its secrets throughout human history.
“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.” John F. Kennedy
As we become ever more interested in living in harmony with our environment, so we learn more about the riches of the sea and how it can help to keep us healthy.
Scientists across the world are conducting experiments on seaweed and discovering more about its benefits which have often been overlooked.
Read on to discover more about one of the most ancient and nourishing life forms in the ocean: seaweed and how it is a natural treatment for psoriasis.
The Story of Seaweed
The vast resources of the underwater world have been harvested by humans for use as a fertilizer, a medicine and a food, over many centuries.
In Japan, archaeologists estimate that seaweed has been eaten for over 10,000 years. In the Chinese Book of Poetry, mention is made of sea vegetables – another name for seaweed – being eaten as a delicacy when Confucius (born 551 BC) was alive.
Other cultures with a long history of using seaweed as a staple include China, New Zealand, some South American countries and Norway.
In Scotland and Ireland too, it has long been renowned for its life-enhancing benefits.
St Columba, who came from Donegal in Ireland, is thought to be the author of a poem about the use of seaweed which was written in about AD 563.
When he moved to Iona off the West Coast of Scotland and founded a monastery, the monks collected a r ed seaweed called dulse and cooked it as food for them and to offer to the poor who visited them.
The dulse seems to have been eaten as a broth, thickened with oatmeal or simply boiled and served with butter.
Seaweed became a useful diet supplement for the Scots who were forced from their crofts towards the coast during the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries.
In Ireland, it was used widely during the Great Hunger between 1845 and 1852 when around one million people emigrated and another million lost their lives due to starvation.
There is also an age-old tradition of using Irish seaweed as a treatment for various conditions including skin complaints such as psoriasis.
In the 19th century, many Victorians made the long journey from England to the West Coast of Ireland to spend anything from a few days to a few weeks soaking in seaweed baths, which were found to be beneficial for skin disorders, arthritic joints, prostatic swelling and other health complaints.
What is Seaweed?
Seaweed is both a very ancient and very simple life form.
Although it looks like a plant, most seaweed is, in fact, algae it was one of the first species to evolve, predating any land plants.
Despite its simplicity, seaweed performs a vital function in absorbing and concentrating nutrients from the oceans into a form which our bodies can use.
There are countless algae and other marine plants which are classified as seaweed (or sea vegetables, as it’s sometimes known.)
Some are found in saltwater and others in freshwater lakes.
While some seaweeds are delicate and very fragile, others are tough and resilient.
Many animals make use of seaweed for both the shelter and food it provides.
In Ireland and the UK there are around 700 different species; that’s around 7% of all the species known worldwide and in the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine area on the east coast of the US and Canada, there are over 250 species.
While a stem-like structure called a ‘stipe’ is present in some species, seaweed doesn’t have the root structure which in plants, carries nutrients from the soil.
Instead, it feeds on nutrients from the water it lives in.
A ‘holdfast’ – or anchoring structure – keeps the seaweed attached to anything from reefs and rocks to something man-made, a jetty perhaps.
It then extends the ‘fronds’ (sometimes called ‘blades’) into the water to absorb the sun and photosynthesize vital nutrients to keep it alive.
You’ll often notice small bladders on these fronds.
These gas -containing structures ensure the seaweed can remain floating on or just below the surface of the water, getting the best exposure to the sun.
The ideal conditions for seaweed to flourish will change, according to the species.
While some live underwater, others become exposed at low tide.
Some species are very resilient and can tolerate, and even prefer, the harshest conditions the ocean can throw at them as they cling to the rocks for survival.
Other, more delicate, varieties will only thrive in very calm water.
Some seaweed can be as tiny as a human thumbnail while, at the other extreme, the Giant Kelp Macrocystis Pyrifera can grow to as much as 50 meters.
Sometimes a huge mat of seaweed forms in the ocean, stretching many kilometres, for example in the Saragossa Sea area of the Western Atlantic Ocean.
Legend has it that Grace O’Malley, a fearsome 16th-century pirate queen from the West of Ireland, bathed in seaweed following her many successful battles and voyages to plunder the high seas.
It’s been discovered that lymph – the fluid running through our bodies picking up bacteria and regulating fats – has the same composition as the juice seaweed yields when it’s cut.
If you cut your finger, you’ll notice that when the blood dries up, a little yellowish crystal remains to form the base of the scab. That is the lymph and its composition mimics that of the seawater in which seaweed grows.
So we may truly be said to be in harmony with the ocean.
In using Seaweed, nature itself has provided us with a renewable source of healthy, simple supplements which can help restore the natural balance of our skins and bodies.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis affects men and women equally.
There are an estimated 125 million sufferers worldwide with over 7.5 million in the USA alone.
Caucasians are slightly more likely to be affected than other races.
It sometimes runs in families: over one in three people who have the condition will have a close relative with it too.
Psoriasis can occur at any age and although in 10 -15% of cases, a child develops the condition before the age of 10, there appear to be two peak ages, from around 15 -35 years old and from 50-60 years old.
In the speeded-up process of skin cell renewal associated with psoriasis, non-mature cells build up on the skin’s surface causing itchy, sore patches of thick, red (salmon-coloured) skin with silvery scales.
Learn more in my Quick Guide To Psoriasis.
How to Treat Psoriasis?
While there is no cure for psoriasis, a wide range of treatments are available to address the quality of life for sufferers by calming and controlling the symptoms and improving the appearance of the affected areas of skin.
The choice of treatment will vary according to the severity of psoriasis, the person’s age and their reaction to other treatments they may have tried.
Treatments can include topical preparations (creams, lotions, ointments applied to the skin), UV therapy and systemic medication (either taken orally or injected).
Sometimes a combination of different treatment types may be advised by your physician.
The most important element in feeling more comfortable is to keep the skin regularly moisturised.
This will help by softening plaques, reducing scale, itchiness and redness and generally soothing the skin.
Moisturisation will also help other active treatments to be absorbed more easily and effectively.
Seaweed is a Natural Treatment for Psoriasis
When you’ve got psoriasis it can feel like nature’s turned against you.
Why not try using the power of nature to help you heal your skin.
By soaking in a Roscara Seaweed Bath you’ll give your skin the nurturing it needs to make your psoriasis more manageable.
These trace minerals in the seaweed include phosphorous, manganese, selenium, pectin, beta-carotene, protein, bromine, sulfur compounds and a number of amino-acids such as taurine.
Seaweed is high in iodine which helps to eliminate toxins and lock in moisture.
Because of its moisturizing function, it is particularly helpful for problem skins conditions like psoriasis.
The seaweed contains powerful antioxidants which are effective in treating problem skin.
Antioxidants help to defend cells against damage from free radicals and toxins in the body and by blocking the effects of these harmful substances, the body is able to produce healthy skin cells.
Many of the uncomfortable effects of psoriasis come from the flaking, dry skin, irritation and itch.
The anti-oxidant power of Roscara Seaweed Baths helps improve the overall condition of the skin and, as a powerful moisturiser, it can work wonders for dry, flaky skin, helping to reduce the itching and irritation.
Roscara Seaweed Baths support the skin’s natural moisture barrier, enhancing the skin’s ability to retain vital moisture and essential lipids while keeping drying and harmful external elements out.
Rich in sulfated polysaccharide compounds which have been scientifically proven to have anti-viral properties.
The natural anti-inflammatory properties of the polysaccharides in Roscara Seaweed Baths can help reduce the redness and irritation of psoriasis, which will prevent trauma to the skin caused by scratching.
Amino acids, important to supply the nutrients needed to keep our skin health and firm, are another of the seaweed’s gifts.
They’re important in psoriasis as they help hydrate dry skin, alleviate inflammation and irritation and increase pH levels, so reducing redness.
Roscara Seaweed Baths have been inspired by both tradition and the ancient and elemental purity of the ocean.
Yes, nature itself has provided us with a renewable source of healthy, simple supplements for our skin in the form of hand-harvested, organic seaweed which has been used for centuries in Ireland to soothe and treat skin conditions.
Roscara Seaweed Baths
I have had psoriasis for 44 years after my skin went to war at the age of 16. I can say, hand on heart, that I have found relief with Seaweed Baths as part of my skincare routine.