Sea Kelp; Kelp Can Do
Kelp has slowly and quietly worked its way into your world without you even realizing. For those of you living on the coast, you are probably familiar with the brown, sometimes slimy, ‘leaves’ that wash up on shore. For you landlubbers, you may be more familiar with pictures of kelp forests that harbor a large and diverse ecosystem. But, kelp does more then provide shelter for ocean creatures. Kelp is a fantastic sustainable product. Growing extremely quickly at around 17 inches a day, the kelp can replace a typical 3-5 foot cutting in only a few days. Harvesting can be done with little to no ecosystem damage, and some species harvest themselves by simply washing up on shore after a storm. Jason Natural’s Sea Kelp Shampoo is one of my favorite products, and the inspiration for my rant today on kelp. The shampoo is excellent, and I have personally tested it for years, but that is another post. You can find extracts of sea kelp in everything from dog food and toothpaste to new anti-cancer drugs. In a sustainable economy, the value of kelp may be more important then we ever thought.The environmental impact of harvesting kelp has been studied, and though more research is needed, the outlook for a sustainable harvest is optimistic. Many scientists agree that careful monitoring of the ecosystem and controlled cutting of the top few feet of the kelp would mitigate most, if not all of the environmental impact on that particular fishery. The cost and technical equipment needed to harvest kelp is very little. In fact, environmental entrepreneurs may be able to ‘plant’ a kelp forest of their own with a little marine biology know how and some permits – adding ecosystem function and sustainable production in one package.
The top uses for sea kelp come from two important extracted compounds; algin and fucans. Algin comes from the cell walls of the kelp, and is used as an emulsifier - you probably eat it all the time in manufactured foods and products. Fucans comes from the ‘slimy’ feeling of the kelp, and has been found to have some anti-cancer properties. Naturally, kelp has a million other uses, including such things as an ingredient in glass (Kelp ash), and as the basis for cell culture technology (Agar). So take a look around, and see where kelp has crept into your life.:: Kelp ::Jason Natural