Dulse

Botanical Name : Rhodymenia palmata
Family: Palmariaceae
Genus: Palmaria
Species: P. palmata
Domain: Eukaryota
Division: Rhodophyta
Class: Florideophyceae
Order: Palmariales

Synonym:Palmaria palmata (Linnaeus) Kuntze

Common Name ;Dulse, dillisk, dilsk, red dulse, sea lettuce flakes or creathnach

Habitat : Dulse is the only species of Palmaria found on the coast of Atlantic Europe. It is to be found from Portugal to the B altic coasts also on the coasts of Iceland and the Faroe Islands. It also grows on the shores of Arctic Russia, Arctic Canada, Atlantic Canada, Alaska, Japan and Korea. The records from California are of Palmaria mollis which is considered a different species.

It grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a well-known snack food, and in Iceland, where it is known as söl, it has been an important source of fiber throughout the centuries.

Description:
Dulse  grows attached by its discoid holdfast to the stipes of Laminaria or to rocks. It has a short stipe, the fronds are variable and vary in colour from deep-rose to reddish-purple and are rather leathery in texture. The flat foliose blade gradually expands and divides into broad segments ranging in size to 50 cm long and 30 – 8 cm in width which can bear flat wedge-shaped proliferations from the edge.

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Reddish brown, membranous or leathery, flattened fronds, 50-300 (rarely –1000) mm long, arising from a discoid base, usually with a small stipe expanding gradually to form simple or dichotomously and palmately divided fronds, often with characteristic marginal leaflets. Blade very variable in shape, having broadly ovate to narrowly linear segments.

The reference to Rhodymenia palmata var.mollis in Abbott & Hollenberg (1976), is now considered to refer to a different species: Palmaria mollis (Setchel et Gardner) van der Meer et Bird.

Dulse is similar to another seaweed Dilsea carnosa (Schmidel) Kuntze, Dilsea, however, is more leathery with blades up to 30 cm long and 20 cm wide. Unlike Palmaria palmata it is not branched and does not have proliferations or branches from the edge of the frond. The older blades may split however

Edible Uses;
Dulse is a good source of minerals and vitamins compared with other vegetables, contains all trace elements needed by humans, and has a high protein content.

It is commonly found from June to September and can be picked by hand when the tide is out. When picked, small snails, shell pieces and other small particles can be washed or shaken off and the plant then spread to dry. Some gatherers may turn it once and roll it into large bales to be packaged later. It is also used as fodder for animals in some countries.

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Dulse is commonly used in Ireland, Iceland, Atlantic Canada and the Northeast United States both as food and medicine. It can be found in many health food stores or fish markets and can be ordered directly from local distributors. In Ballycastle, Ireland, it is traditionally sold at the Ould Lammas Fair. It is particularly popular along the Causeway Coast. Although a fast-dying tradition,[citation needed] there are many who still gather their own dulse. In South West Ireland, as in County Antrim, it is eaten dried and uncooked in a manner similar to that in which one would eat snacks at a drinks party. It is also used in cooking. (Its properties are similar to those of a flavor-enhancer). It is commonly referred to as dillisk on the west coast of Ireland. Dillisk is usually dried and sold as a snack food from stalls in seaside towns by periwinkle-sellers.

Waste pipes have spoiled some sites.

Fresh dulse can be eaten directly off the rocks before sun-drying. Sun-dried dulse is eaten as is or is ground to flakes or a powder. In Iceland the tradition is to eat it with butter. It can also be pan fried quickly into chips, baked in the oven covered with cheese, with salsa, or simply microwaved briefly. It can also be used in soups, chowders, sandwiches and salads, or added to bread/pizza dough. Finely diced, it can also be used as a flavour enhancer in meat dishes, such as chili, in place of monosodium glutamate.

Medicinal Uses:

Dulse contains iodine, which prevents goiter.

In several traditions of European herbal medicine, dulse was used to remove parasites, to relieve constipation, and as a treatment for scurvy. It is a superior source of the iodine the body needs to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine which affect weight and metabolic rate.  The complex polysaccharides in the herb make it a gentle alternative to psyllium or senna in the treatment of constipation.

Externally, the fresh blades can be used to treat skin diseases, headaches, and to help expel placenta. It is used as a gentle laxative. Dulse has also been used to help prevent fibroid tumors of the breasts, the uterus or the ovaries and in cases of swollen lumps or enlargements of the intestinal area. Natural, organically-bond iodine extracts from Dulse are used for the treatment and prevention of thyroid disease, and clinical trials on daily molecular iodine supplementation have shown that cyclical breast lumps and cysts are completely resolved within two months. The iodine in Dulse can also prevent goiter.

Dulse has an alkalizing effect on the blood that neutralizes wastes that build up in the body and also aids in removing radioactive and heavy metals from the body. It also prevents the absorption from the gut by binding these elements, which include radioactive strontium, barium, and cadmium. This is done by transforming them into harmless salts (via a substance called alginic acid) that are easily eliminated. Dulse has elements to eliminate excess uric acid from the system and has been used for genitourinary problems such as kidney, bladder, prostrate, and uterus.  Clinical documentation shows that taking some each day can reduce enlarged prostrates in older men and urination can become painless.

Seaweeds may reduce the risk of poisoning from environmental pollution by providing fiber that increases fecal bulk and also reduces cholesterol levels through the retardation of bile acid absorption. Recent research has suggested that Dulse may help reverse hardening of the arteries, reduce high blood pressure, regress and prevent tumors  Research has shown that Dulse extracts inhibited HeLa cell proliferation that is found in human cervical adenocarcinoma and has also been found in animal studies to reduce the risk of intestinal and mammary cancer.

It has been used to treat the problems associated with thyroid malfunction. Liquid Dulse can help to soothe an irritated throat and mucous membranes. It has been used for enlarged thyroid and lymph nodes, swollen and painful testes and to reduce edema. Seaweeds are used to promote wound healing. New generation dressings such as the hydrocolloid dressings are seaweed base as they provide optimal conditions for healing to begin.  It is known to prevent seasickness. Thus it should be of value in other conditions where motion sickness is the cause such as vertigo and labrynthitis or Meniere’s Disease.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmaria_palmata
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

http://www.horta.uac.pt/species/Algae/Palmaria_palmata/Palmaria_palmata.htm

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