Red algae ( Lithothamnion sp. )
Red algae are from the coralline algae family. They are one of the hardiest plants that thrive in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
They are rich in calcium, minerals and trace elements.
Red seaweed has a wide range of medicinal uses
They improve the body’s immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells. This benefit may be due to the sulfated polysaccharides found in red algae. These are the complex carbohydrates that contain sulfur. They stimulate anti-tumor agents and interferon, an antiviral protein that prevents virus replication. They strengthen the immune system especially against viral attacks. Recent studies prove their efficacy in controlling the growth of yeast and the virus that causes herpes.
Red seaweed is widely used in Western countries to treat cold sores on the lips. They are familiar to traditional medicine and are applied for many ailments like urinary tract infection, asthma, goiter, stomach related disorders etc. Red seaweeds also provide shielding to the skin and thus are effective in removing skin problems like boils. They are also useful in treating ulcers and tumors. The sulfated polysaccharides in red algae are also effective for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, and influenza.
Red seaweed reduces the level of cholesterol and fat in the blood. So they can be helpful for people who intend to lose weight. Also, the most important thing about them is that they are naturally occurring antiviral helpers as well as agents that boost the immune system. This is probably the reason why many Asian countries such as China and Japan have been using red seaweed as food since ancient times. They are still perceived as one of the most useful sea vegetables.