Laminaria contains iodine, an element that the body needs to make thyroid hormones. It's also a rich source of iron and potassium. Laminaria forms a thick, sticky gel when combined with water. This allows it to work as a bulk laxative in the gut.
People use laminaria for ending a pregnancy (abortion), childbirth, cancer, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Don't confuse laminaria with other types of seaweed or with chemicals found in seaweed, such as algin and carrageenan. These are not the same.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Ineffective for
- Ending a pregnancy (abortion). Applying laminaria in the vagina doesn't seem to shorten delivery time or improve the outcome of abortions. It might even worsen outcomes compared to standard care.
- Childbirth. Applying laminaria in the vagina during childbirth doesn't seem to reduce the need for a caesarean section (C-section). It actually seems to increase the risk of an infection in both the parent and infant.
When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if laminaria is safe. Some people might experience allergic reactions.
Special Precautions and Warnings
When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if laminaria is safe. Some people might experience allergic reactions. Pregnancy: Laminaria is possibly unsafe when applied in the vagina to ripen the cervix and is likely unsafe when used to induce labor. It can cause serious side effects for both the parent and child, including infection, rupture of the cervix, and infant death. Taking laminaria by mouth as a supplement during pregnancy is unsafe. It can affect hormones. Avoid use.
Breast-feeding: Taking laminaria by mouth as a supplement while breast-feeding is likely unsafe. Laminaria might contain toxic chemicals. Avoid use.
Kidney problems: Laminaria might cause high potassium and iodine levels. Don't take laminaria if you have kidney problems.
Thyroid problems: Laminaria contains large amounts of iodine, which might make thyroid problems worse. Don't take laminaria if you have thyroid problems.
Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with LAMINARIA
Laminaria contains large amounts of potassium. Large amounts of potassium can increase the effects and side effects of digoxin.
Medications for high blood pressure (ACE inhibitors) interacts with LAMINARIA
Laminaria contains large amounts of potassium. Some medications for high blood pressure can increase potassium levels in the blood. Taking laminaria along with some medications for high blood pressure might cause too much potassium in the blood.
Thyroid hormone interacts with LAMINARIA
The body naturally produces thyroid hormones. Laminaria might increase how much thyroid hormone the body produces. Taking laminaria along with thyroid hormone pills might increase the effects and side effects of thyroid hormones.
Water pills (Potassium-sparing diuretics) interacts with LAMINARIA
Laminaria contains large amounts of potassium. Some "water pills" can also increase potassium levels in the body. Taking some "water pills" along with laminaria might cause too much potassium to be in the body.
Amiodarone (Cordarone) interacts with LAMINARIA
Amiodarone contains iodine. Laminaria also contains iodine. Taking laminaria along with amiodarone might increase the levels of iodine in the blood. Too much iodine in the blood can cause side effects that affect the thyroid.
Medications for an overactive thyroid (Antithyroid drugs) interacts with LAMINARIA
Laminaria contains iodine. Iodine can increase or decrease thyroid function. Taking laminaria along with medications for an overactive thyroid might change the effects of these medications.
Be cautious with this combination
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.