Saccharina japonica (Konbu)

Botanical Name : Saccharina japonica
Family: Laminariaceae
Genus: Saccharina
Species: S. japonica
Kingdom: Chromalveolata
Phylum: Heterokontophyta
Class: Phaeophyceae
Order: Laminariales

Synonyms:
Laminaria japonica J.E. Areschoug
Laminaria ochotensis Miyabe

Common Names:Dashi kombu,Kombu or konbu ,also called dashima in Koria,

Habitat :
Saccharina japonica is  native to Japan, but has been cultivated in China, Japan, Russia, France, and Korea. It is one of the two most consumed species of kelp in China and Japan. The harvest is also used for the production of alginates, with China producing up to 10 000 tonnes of the product each year.

Description :
Thallus consisting of root-like holdfast, short stipe and blade. Blade long-belt shaped, up to one meter long, 10-20 cm broad, with margin undulate and overlapping, thick at the middle and thin at the margin. A short and small stipe and holdfast at the base of the blade. Holdfast sturdy (presenting haptera) with which the algae is fixed to rocky substratum.  Colour: thick dark green; blade surface brown, occasionally glaucescent…..CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

Uses:-
Cooking:
Kombu is used extensively in Japanese cuisines as one of the three main ingredients needed to make dashi, a soup stock. Kombu is sold dried (‘dashi kombu’) or pickled in vinegar (‘su kombu’) or as a dried shred (‘Oboro kombu’ or ‘Shiraga kombu’). It may also be eaten fresh as sashimi. Making kombu dashi is simple though kombu dashi powder may also be used. A strip of dried kombu in cold water, then heated to near-boiling, is the very first step of making dashi and the softened kombu is commonly eaten after cooking. It can also be sliced and used to make tsukudani, a dish that is simmered in soy sauce and mirin.

Kombu may be pickled with sweet and sour flavoring and is cut into small strips 5 or 6 centimeters long and 2 centimeters wide. These are often eaten as a snack with green tea.

It is often included when cooking beans, putatively to add nutrients and improve their digestibility.

Kombucha – “seaweed tea” is a beverage brewed from dried and powdered kombu. This is sometimes confused with the unrelated English word kombucha, a neologism for the fermented and sweetened tea from Russia, which is called k?cha kinoko   in Japan.

Kombu is also used to prepare a seasoning for rice that is going to be made into sushi.

Nutrition and health effects:
Kombu is a good source of glutamic acid, an amino acid responsible for umami, the Japanese word used for one of the five basic tastes in addition to salt, sweet, sour, and bitter, identified in 1908. Several foodstuffs in addition to kombu provide glutamic acid or glutamates. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is often used as a food additive and flavor enhancer.

Kombu contains iodine, a mineral that is essential for normal growth and development. However, the high iodine content of kombu has been blamed for thyroid problems after drinking large amounts of soy milk in which kombu was an additive. It is also a source of dietary fiber.

Medicinal Uses:
Ocean Plant Extract contains some of the purest nutrients to help you achieve our health goals. These nutrients include the following:

*Alginates absorb radioactive elements and eliminate heavy metals and free radicals from your body
*Organic Iodine supports your thyroid to stabilize metabolism and is essential for expecting mothers and anyone with a thyroid disorders.
*Contains fucose, mannose & glucuronic acid to enhance cellular communication & immune function.
*Laminarin is a polysaccharide that has been shown to be helpful in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases
*Antimicrobial agents like vitamin C, vitamin A and B vitamins.
Ocean plants contain all the above nutrients and have also been shown to reduce cold symptoms, strengthen your immune system and cleanse your body of heavy metals and radiation.

Don’t wait until disaster strikes to take charge of your health

The ancient Chinese, prescribed for goiter a tincture and powder of these plants.  Employed as alterative in the treatment of goiter and other iodine deficiencies.   It is used to induce labor and abortion. Kombu possesses a strong anticancer activity and inhibits the growth of cancer.  Studies have shown that a regular use of Laminaria japonica reduces risk of the breast cancer considerably.
Imbibition is employed in medicine to dilate the ear canals so they will drain properly. A slender porous cylinder called an “ear wick” is inserted into the blocked ear canal where it gradually imbibes water and swells. This same mechanism also involves one of the most unusual uses for brown algae. A slender cylinder of Laminaria japonica called “dilateria” is used to dilate the cervix in routine gynecological examinations. The cylinder of brown algae is inserted into the cervix where it imbibes water and swells. Laminaria has been preferred by many Japanese physicians for more than a century; they have found its gradual dilatation far less traumatic than the rapid dilatation induced by rigid dilators.’

As a dietary supplement, Laminaria is rich in several constituents that can be very beneficial to the health, aside from being a great natural source of iodine for the thyroid gland. It is high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and trace minerals such as manganese, copper, selenium, and zinc. It also provides chromium, which is instrumental in blood sugar control, and vitamins B1 and B2.  Somewhat more interesting are the polysaccharides. It contains alginates, laminarin, laminine, and fucoidan as well as a number of other polysaccharides and simple sugars. The alginates are adept at absorbing toxic heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from the body by binding with them in the gastrointestinal tract when they are present in the bile. Levels of dangerous metals like mercury, lead and aluminum can be significantly reduced in the body if Laminaria japonica is consumed on a regular basis for at least 4 months. This period of time is necessary, as it takes time for the body to cycle accumulated toxins into the bile. Laminaria has been used with great success in treating radiation sickness in the victims of the Chernobyl, Russia disaster via this mechanism.

Fucoidan, a sulphated fucopolysaccharide constituent is the subject of extensive research for its anticancer properties. Studies have shown fucoidan to be effective in stopping the growth of tumors, inducing cancer cell apoptosis (programmed cell death) in leukemia, stomach and colon cancer lines, and in interfering with metastasis by inhibiting interaction between tumor cells and the host tissue basement membrane. Laminarin, another constituent, has been found to assist with this process via a tumor angiogenesis blocking mechanism.  Fucoidan also has some beneficial effects on the immune system. It enhances phagocytosis by macrophages, and helps to reduce inflammation.

Kombu is also excellent for the hair, skin and nails, taken either internally or applied topically in masks and creams. Because of its high mineral content and polysaccharides, the seaweed helps by adding important nutrients to the skin, and by removing toxins. In its extract form, this seaweed can be easily incorporated into a range of skin care products to help give the skin a silky smoothness.

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/Saccharina_japonica
http://search.myway.com/search/GGcached.jhtml?pg=GGmain&ord=1&action=click&searchfor=Laminaria%2Bjaponica&curl=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FKombu&isDirResults=false&tpr=sbt&cid=36NMEGceQzAJ&st=site&ct=GC
http://bodyecology.com/articles/heavy_metal_cleansing_sea_vegetable.php
http://www.fao.org/fishery/culturedspecies/Laminaria_japonica/en
http://www.wellcorps.com/ingredients-benefits-wakame-and-kombu-suringar-and-laminaria-japonica-whole-plant-extract.html

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