English Name: sargassum, seaweed
Pharmaceutical Name: Sargassum
Medica Category: Phlegm-Resolving Herbs
Properties: Hai Zao enters the Liver, Stomach, and Kidney channels; it is bitter and salty in nature and cold in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Hai Zao is dried seaweed from one of two species in the genus Sargassum (Sargassum pallidum (Turn.) C.Ag.; and Sargassum fusiforme (Harv.) Setch.) that grows in littoral areas and shallow seas throughout East and Southeast Asia. It is collected in the summer and autumn and dried for use as medicine.
Hai Zao dissolves phlegm and softens hardness and is used clinically to address hyperthyroidism (in large doses w/Kun Bu), hypothyroidism (in regular doses w/Kun Bu), scrofula, goiter, enlargement of the scrotum, and other solid expressions of phlegm accumulation.
Hai Zao regulates water circulation and reduces swelling to address edema and dysuria.
Use of large doses of Hai Zao to address hyperthyroidism should only be maintained for the short-term until sympathetic excesses associated with hyperthyroidism has abated. In regular dose levels, Hai Zao does not create the negative feedback loop inhibiting the release of thyroid hormone that it does in large doses and can therefore be used long term to build up iodine levels in those with hypothyroidism.