More commonly known as seaweed, sargassum is collected from the coastal provinces of China, and from other coastlines around the world. Its high content of the element iodine makes it effective in treating a variety of ailments related to the thyroid gland. It also promotes urination and is traditionally prescribed for the pain of hernia. In traditional Chinese medicine sargassum is characterized as a cold, salty herb.
Taken internally for:
Sargassum is available in bulk at Chinese pharmacies, Asian markets and Western health food stores.
Combinations: A mixture of sargassum, silkworm, prunella and scrophularia is used for goiter and scrofula. The same symptoms can also be treated with a preparation of sargassum and licorice; some traditional texts suggest that these two herbs are incompatible, although animal experiments have shown no adverse reactions. A combination of sargassum and water chestnut is prescribed for the lung disease silicosis. For information on dosages and other preparations, consult a Chinese medicine practitioner.