Teaching Tuesdays- What is Spirulina ?

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is shaped like a perfect spiral coil. As one of our   planets oldest inhabitants, it surprises me that it is not really commonly known. In fact, I had not heard of it until a few years ago, which is why I chose it for todays subject matter. 

Spirulina is roughly 3.6 billion years old. Yes, that's billion with a "B", and it grows on virtually every continent in the world. It grows naturally in alkaline lakes, very often near volcanoes. Currently, the best known producers are; Lake Texacano, Mexico; Lake Chad, Africa; and the Great Rift Valley, in East Africa. 

While there is evidence that our ancestors knew of, and valued spirulina, it was really "rediscovered" back in the 1960's. Since that time, many studies have been conducted and spirulina farms have popped up in counties. Spirulna makes a great crop because it uses 1/3 rd less water than that needed to grow soybeans and 1/50 th less than what is needed for beef protein. While it needs 20 times less land than what is needed for soybeans, and 200 times less than what is required for beef. Not to mention that the growth of the spirulina helps with global warming since it fixes carbon and produces oxygen.

So all of that is good and fine, but why would anyone want to buy spirulina, even if it was grown and just given to them? I will tell you. Very simply, spirulina is the MOST powerful and well balanced source of nutrition available in this world today. It has been named as a "Super food" by Scientists. It is made up of 60% all vegetable protein, essential vitamins and phytonutrients, such as essential fatty acids. It is cholesterol free, low fat, and low calorie. It also possesses antiviral and wound healing properties that combat free radicals in the body.        

In plain English, this very small plant packs a very powerful punch. A small quantity of this food source can feed the masses for less space, less water and  less money than any other food source, AND, all the while, do it more efficiently nutrition wise.  The more I study this unique plant, the more I want to grow it myself! 

Of course there are a good many implications for heath related to a diet rich in Spirulina. In fact, it has been given as a treatment for radiation sickness, and is known to increase wound healing, while decreasing kidney toxicity. But when it comes to the bath and body industry, I was unable to find a lot of uses, however, it does give a wonderful green color to your cold and hot processed soaps, and, like other algae, it makes a truly great, cleansing facial mask too! So it appears that Spirulina is food for the inside, as well as the outside of our bodies! 

For some interesting reading about a spirulina farm, see auroville.org

1 comment:

Mesha said...

Wow- so much I didn't know :!
Still my preferred way to get my Spirulina is going to be in soap :)