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Mozuku Seaweed – Use, Benefits and More

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Mozuku seaweed produced on the Noto Peninsula is called “silk mozuku” and is much thinner than mozuku produced in Okinawa, the most significant production site. Mozuku from Okinawa belongs to the Chordariaceae family of the order Chordariales, while mozuku from Noto is a species of Spermatochnaceae of the order Chordariales. The word mozuku means “attaching to other seaweed.” Silk mozuku grows while attached to other seaweed, such as vellum. All of Noto’s silk mozuku is natural. It is picked from December through March. When cooked, its black or brown color in the raw state turns bright green. It is glutinous and very smooth. It is eaten with vinegar and is used in rice soup and sake lees soup.

Why do Mozuku?

Like many other edible algae, mozuku has a rich composition. It contains a large number of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. On the table of Okinawa residents, this seaweed is usually present daily. Therefore, such problems as vitamin deficiency and other nutrients are unfamiliar to them.

However, the principal value of mozuku is that algae contain a large amount of a unique polysaccharide – fucoidan. This substance of natural origin has many valuable properties. Its healing properties are carefully researched in the most significant scientific laboratories in the world.

The effectiveness of fucoidan in the complex treatment of oncology and its prevention has already been confirmed. But there are other, no less outstanding properties.


What are the Health Benefits of Mozuku seaweed?

According to Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT, a recorded dietitian founded in Charleston, a few things set Okinawan seaweed and mozuku apart. “If you have seen seaweed that is more brown than that classic green color many of us are familiar with, then you may be banqueting your eyes on mozuku—a nutrient-dense seaweed that offers unique health benefits,” Manaker says. While most sushi seaweed and dried nori sheets come from a species of red seaweed known as Pyropia (counting P. genesis and P. tenera), Okinawan mozuku is derived from the genus Cladosiphon okamuranus.

Giving to Manaker, unlike green or red seaweed, chocolate seaweed is the only type containing fucoidan, a naturally occurring compound that boasts a crowd of health benefits. “Fucoidan has been exposed to have antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-coagulant, anti-thrombotic, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory things,” she says.

Although more studies are wanted to examine the health benefits of mozuku, Manaker says that initial data suggests that overwhelming this seaweed may offer heart health perks. An extra study examined the anti-inflammatory effects of fucoidan on the quality of life in progressive cancer patients. It concluded that proinflammatory cytokines were significantly abridged after two weeks of fucoidan ingestion.

How do Okinawans Commonly Eat Mozuku Seaweed?

The brown algae is often reaped in the shallow, warm water off the shore of Okinawa by hand and then rinsed to remove any leftovers of sand or hidden sea creatures. To reservation its health benefits, Okinawans naturally eat mozuku raw, dressed with sweet vinegar, or with other gut-healthy ingredients like nattō, aka fermented soybeans; though, it can also be eaten deep-fried (as tempura) or in soups. The best method to get your hands on (literally) the newest form of seaweed would be to collect it yourself, but you can also find packed mozuku at Japanese grocery stores or on Amazon, like this dried form.

Not only is mozuku a large part of the Okinawan diet but it is also considered a “treasure under the sea,” an integral part of the local food. According to the Okinawa Institution of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University, 2006, the Japanese Cabinet Office estimated a 20,000-ton production with a financial value of billions of Yen. However, within the last period, rising sea temperatures have put the making of this valued crop (and a source of income for countless Okinawans) at stake. Later, 99 percent of this seaweed was shaped in Okinawa and almost totally farmed by humans. This is why scientists are boundlessly searching for the best ways to preserve this aquatic gem—a staple in the Okinawan diet.


Finally, mozuku has an exclusive texture and flavor that are sought by cooking fanatics. The secret of this distinctive taste is inside the mozuku’s DNA, and it could now be possible to comprehend which part of the genetic code is responsible for it. The decryption of the genome of Okinawa mozuku is an essential step for the future of this seaweed.

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