People eat Sugar kelp (also called Kombu in Japanses dishes), which contains appreciable amount of vitamin C and is high in iodine, protein and calcium. The blade is usually chopped and cooked as a savory garnish (tororo konbu) for rice and other dishes, as a vegetable, and as snacks (such as tsukudani).
Kombu is also used to add flavor to broths (dashi stock) and stews but the kombu itself is removed from the liquid at the end of cooking and discarded. Kombu can be used to soften beans during cooking, and to help convert indigestible sugars.
How to make tsukudani
How to make dashi stock
Saccharina latissima contains high amounts of mineral elements including sodium, magnesium, potassium, chlroine, sulfur and phosphorus; the micronutrients include iodine, zinc, copper, selenium, molybdenum.
Brown algae generally has the highest iodine content with dry kelp ranging from 1500-8000 ppm (parts per million). They are also rich in vitamins including carotenes (provitamin A) and vitamin, with contents ranging from 500-3000 ppm. Vitamin B12, which is not found in most land plants, is also present. It also has high fiber content, The soluble fiber fraction ranges 67-87% in brown algae; soluble fibers are generally associated with having cholesterol-lowering and hypoglycemic effects.
Ethnobotany- Chinese medicine
Saccharina has been used in China for the treatment of cancer. Kelps may have polysaccharides that may reduce the possibility of breast cancer. “Laminaria tents” are dry Saccharina stipes used in obstetrics to dilate the cervix (Starin and Borden, 1984). According to Chinese medicine, seaweeds have a salty taste that can disperse phlegm accumulation, which includes goiter (the thyroid swelling that indicates severe iodine deficiency), Scrofula, tumor, edema, accumulation, testicular pain and swelling. (Oriental Materia Medica)
Seaweed Site (www.seaweed.ie)
Bergner, P. 1997. The Healing Power Of Minerals.
Hsu H.Y. et al. 1986. Oriental Materia Medica: A Concise Guide.