Dry, it looks like tumble weed – but fresh or re-hydrated, Sea Chicory will provide a feast for your eyes and palette!
Sea Chicory’s colour can vary from dark green, violet green, maroon, coral or red. Similarly the shape and size can vary too depending on the species and where it is harvested. The species Pacific Harvest offers is endemic to the South-eastern Pacific, near the coasts of Peru and Chile and is fondly referred to by Peruvians as cocha yuyos, Chileans as Chicorea de mar, and Japanese as yanaginori.
Sea Chicory not only looks visually exciting on a plate (so makes a great garnish) but it’s an excellent source of natural iodine, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Sea Chicory is classified as a red seaweed, considered highly nutritious, being low in fat, rich in vitamins and plant proteins. Scientists have discovered that Sea Chicory contains a raft of beneficial polysaccharides called carrageenan, that may have unique medicinal properties. They have found them to be antibacterial as well as antiviral, even anti-herpetic (able to kill the herpes viruses) and anti-coagulant.
Carrageenan has also traditionally been used for coughs, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and intestinal problems. Some people apply carrageenan directly to the skin for discomfort around the anus. Carrageenan is a common ingredient in weight loss products as it contains chemicals which may decrease stomach and intestinal secretions. Large amounts of carrageenan seem to pull water into the intestine, and this may explain why it is often also used as a laxative. Carrageenan also might decrease pain and swelling (inflammation).
In more recent times, Sea Chicory has been harvested commercially as raw material for the extraction of its jellifying compounds used in food processing. There is controversy over the health effects of isolated carrageenan extracts, but the whole plant has been used for food & medicinal purposes for centuries.
Nutritional & digestive benefits
Effects on Gut Function
Bioactivities of sulphated polysaccharides
Natural Carrageen & its applications
Polysaccharides & immunity
Disclaimer: This material is provided for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is generic and should be verified by a qualified health practitioner for specific & individual needs & requirements.