Seaweed is an algae, an algae that so many of us like to eat in our sushi or whack on our skin as a beautification treatment. It's been used for centuries as a food source and for its healing properties by people living in coastal regions - particularly in South East Asian and Japan but what exactly can this weed of the ocean's garden do for us? Nutrient rich seaweed is high in calcium, magnesium and iodine, something the thyroid requires to function effectively. It's also thought to contain properties that may help sufferers of tuberculosis, arthritis and influenza.

Seaweeds are farmed intensively for their gelling and emulsifying properties. The food industry in particular makes use of the gelatinous substances in seaweed to use in confectionary, deserts, salad dressings and the preservation of meat, dairy and baked goods.

The main species grown for consumption are Nori, Kombu, Kunbu and Wakame - all of which you can find in many supermarkets and health food stores. I recently made a make-it-up-as-you-go-along soup for dinner using Kombu, Kunu and Wakame and felt so energized and light after the meal I felt I could have started the day over. Who needs tablets when you have seaweed for a super mineral boost?

Seaweed extracts are often used in natural beauty products. In bath remedies it can revitalise tired skin. The edible seaweed, Enteromorpha compress, is used as an active ingredient in facial masks and moisturizers to reduce the appearance of lines and nourish the skin.