English Name: kelp, laminaria
Pharmaceutical Name: Thallus Laminariae seu Eckloniae
Medica Category: Phlegm-Resolving Herbs
Properties: Kun Bu enters the Liver, Stomach, and Kidney channels; it is salty in nature and cold in temperature.
Kelp is a kind of algae that grows in saltwater habitats, usually along rocky coastlines where it can anchor itself and get enough light to thrive. The Chinese Herb Kun Bu is one of two species of Kelp widely cultivated in China, Korea, and Japan (Laminaria japonica Aresch.; Ecklonia kurome Okam.). It is harvested throughout the summer and autumn and dried for use as medicine.
Kun Bu dissolves phlegm and softens hardness and is used clinically to address hyperthyroidism (in large doses w/Hai Zao), hypothyroidism (in regular doses w/Hai Zao), scrofula, goiter, palpable abdominal masses (such as enlarged spleen and liver), swelling and pain in the scrotum, and other solid expressions of phlegm accumulation.
Kun Bu regulates water circulation and reduces swelling to address edema and dysuria.
Use of large doses of Kun Bu to address hyperthyroidism should only be maintained for the short-term until sympathetic excesses associated with hyperthyroidism has abated. In regular dose levels, Kun Bu 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.
Kun Bu can lower plasma glucose levels and should therefore be used with caution by persons concurrently taking insulin, sulfonylureas, and other antidiabetic medications (such as tolbutamide (Orinase), glipizide (Glucotrol), or glyburide (DiaBeta/Micronase) as the combination may have a synergistic effect leading to hypoglycemia.