Little-known facts about seaweeds

In recent years, seaweeds have drawn considerable attention as an important source of medicinal, nutraceutical or cosmetic actives as well as for their remarkable nutritional benefits.

Historical facts about seaweeds

While this seems new to us, ancient civilisations knew very well the desirable attributes of seaweeds. As early as 14 600 years ago, some of the first settlers in South America likely relied on the nutritive and medicinal values of seaweeds, evidenced by masticated seaweed remains found on the Monte Verde site in Chili.

In Ancient China (around 2700 BC), as well as in Ancient Greece and under the Roman Empire (around 0 – 300), seaweeds have been used for treating all sorts of ailments, from thyroid diseases to parasitic infections.

There are proofs of seaweed cultivation in the 1700s in Edo period Japan (i.e. Shogun), and British explorer James Cook had been nourished with Limu Moui (a type of brown seaweed) when he landed in Tonga in 1777, as a way to restore his strength and energy.

Why are we talking about this?

This is valuable information for anyone looking for natural products backed by hundreds if not thousands of years of safe use.

As scientists, our interest lies not in historical facts, but instead in proving that seaweeds can truly have beneficial health impacts using modern, validated scientific studies!

If you want to learn more about the historical uses of seaweeds, we recommend reading these articles :

Tracing the Trans-Pacific Evolutionary History of a Domesticated Seaweed (Gracilaria chilensis) with Archaeological and Genetic Data  

Or

Seaweed as human food