Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dulse (Palmaria palmata)

I'm trying out a new herb right now and am quite impressed with what I've learned about it. I also like that I can use this one as a seasoning for a lot of different foods.

Dulse belongs to the class of herbs known as sea vegetables. It is a red seaweed that is harvested in the cool waters along the Atlantic coast of Canada and along the shores of Ireland and Norway. It's fronds grown in tidal areas on rocks, shells, and on larger seaweeds.

Nutrients: Here's an astounding fact - sea vegetables including dulse contain all 56 minerals and trace elements in proportions greatly exceeding land plants. I'm not sure I've run into anything in nature that can make that claim.

  • Dulse is high in iodine and one of the best natural forms of bio molecular dietary iodine. Just as a form of comparison, you would have to eat about 40 pounds of fresh land vegetables and/or fruits to get as much iodine as you get from one gram of most sea vegetables. Iodine is the main component of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland, which regulates our metabolism - thyroid hormone accelerates cellular reactions, increases oxygen consumption and basal metabolism, and influences growth and development, energy metabolism, differentiation and protein synthesis.

  • Dulse is also high in B-vitamins. Some varieties will provide more than 100% of the RDA of vitamin B6 and about 66% of the RDA of vitamin B12.

  • The protein content of dulse is around 16% to 28%. The amino acid composition of these sea veggie proteins is generally well balanced and contains all or most of the essential amino acids (the ones your body can't produce by itself). Thus the sea veggies provide higher quality protein than certain grains and beans that are lacking one or two essential amino acids, although the sea vegetables provide less quantity per serving. (Example: A serving of Dulse would yield about 1 1/2 g of high quality protein). One of the more important amino acids found in most sea vegetables is glutamic acid, the basis for synthetic MSG. This amino acid naturally enhances flavors and tenderizes high protein foods like beans while aiding in their digestion. Glutamic acid also improves mental and nervous system activity; provides energy, and is thought to help control alcoholism, schizophrenia and the craving for sugar.

Therapeutic Uses

  • Awesome source of nutrition as mentioned above.

  • In traditional European herbal medicine, dulse was used to remove parasites, to relieve constipation, and as a treatment for scurvy.

  • Dulse is a superior source of phytochemicals the body needs to make thyroid hormones that affect weight and metabolic rate.

  • Dulse is also affective as a gentle alternative to Psyllium or Senna for the treatment of constipation. It's very high in fiber.

How to Use

  • There are several ways to purchase dulse including the whole plant or ground fine as flakes. I'm trying out the flakes right now.

  • Use as a tea, decoction, or tincture: Warning - if very concentrated it will taste a little fishy. Adding some cinnamon and honey may help if this taste bothers you.

  • Add to smoothies

  • Sprinkle for a nice flavor over a salad. When added to a salad or dish - dulse adds a really naturally salty flavor. It's all those awesome organic minerals that our bodies need and can easily digest.

  • Add to soups, chowders, sandwiches, or add to bread/pizza dough

Pick up a little of this herb, balance your thyroid, and feed your body with one of nature's most complete herbs.

P.S. Don't forget about our great Terra Firma Cosmetic giveaway! You have until Thursday to enter.


Hanlie said...

I've been trying to find dulse in South Africa, but haven't had any success so far... Will keep trying, because I really, really want to use it! Thank for an informative article.

Living A Whole Life said...

Hi Hanlie! I've missed you! Dulse may not be readily available, but are any of the other sea vegetables? They are all a little unique in their composition, but as a group contain all 56 minerals and trace minerals.

Here are some other options: Nori, Kelp, Hijiki, Kombu, Wakame, and Arame.


Kristen's Raw said...

Great post! I keep dulse flakes and kelp granules on my counter for adding to smoothies, soups, etc. And, sometimes I just put some in water and chug it down quickly :)


oneness trainers said...

I love dulse. And get it every time I go to New Brunswick Canada. I have been eating it straight up since I was a child. Forget diluting. I realize it is an acquired taste but it is the one healthy food that I love as much as chocolate.

lauraleighton said...

I live on Grand Manan Island, in New Brunswick, Canada. Our dulse is renowned as the BEST in the world. Supposedly. I've never tried dulse from anywhere else. We have 2 types of dulse here: "Passage" dulse, picked in Ingalls Head, which is usually crushed up after it's dried; and "Dark Harbour" dulse, which is the better of the 2. Usually when you buy dulse at a market, it's already stale and pink/purple. We don't eat it that way, although you can revive it a little by toasting it til it's green & crispy. We eat the Dark Harbour dulse, in the summer when it's fresh. And by fresh, I mean dark brown, thick, crispy, just dried. My brother-in-law keeps it fresh by storing it in a paper bag in the propane stove--the pilot light keeps it from moistening up & getting purple. You can also keep it fresh by freezing it (in the deep freeze), in a paper bag, with a plastic bag around that. Hope you get to try some, it's delicious! We eat it just like chips...only, not too much, that can be a bit...dangerous. ;) Lol.

Living A Whole Life said...

Ok - is anyone else out there dying to try some Dulse from Grand Manan Island after reading the last comment? I know I am...thanks Laura!


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