Picture of Wakame and Mekabu Seaweed underwater

Mekabu Seaweed - Good for Your Hair & Health!

Posted by James Hammett on

The Japanese people have long known the nutritional value and health benefits of seaweed. According to some scientists, seaweed has been used in food in Japan starting as early as the New Stone Age about 10,000 years ago. From the many discovered fossil remains, they can assume that ancient inhabitants of Japan consumed large amounts of seaweed, such as arame, hondawara, hijiki and wakame, all of which are believed to help hair grow healthy and abundant. Seaweed still plays a large role in the culture and everyday life of the Japanese – whether farming it, infusing it in beauty products or consuming it as a delicious staple in their diet.

Mekabu Farming

Much of the world’s seaweed is produced in large sea-based farms off the coasts of Asia, mainly in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. And, there are approximately 10,000 different varieties of seaweed that grow in the world's saltwater environments. For our MASAMI haircare formulas, we exclusively use Mekabu sourced directly from Wakame seaweed grown off the Sanriku Coast in Northern Japan. Mekabu is the nutrient-rich, pine-cone looking part of the Wakame, which is a type of brown edible seaweed. The more well-known Wakame is the leafy part of the plant, whereas Mekabu is the part just above the root system.

To acquire the Mekabu infused in our products, we proudly collaborate with a local Japanese farming family that already has a 71 year history of seaweed farming and manufacturing. They are a responsible and well-named supplier of various seaweeds to supermarket chains for decades. Mekabu is harvested only once a year in May through June and in limited quantities. We’re excited to see the fruits of the 2020 harvest soon!

Picture of someone harvesting mekabu seaweed in Japan

Mekabu Health Benefits

Over 50 different minerals are found in the seawater where Mekabu grows, thus it absorbs many of them making it super packed with nutrients. Its primary nutrients are fucoidan and algin acid and according to this Japanese products blog, the health benefits are as follows:
  • Fucoidan activates cells and helps boost the immune system to fight against the germs of common cold and influenza. Since fucoidan activates hair matrix cells as well, it has the effect of making the hair healthy and beautiful.
  • The algin acid is effective for improving the conditions of the stomach and intestines.
  • The potassium in the algin acid absorbs salts in the body and helps lower blood pressure and control the rise of blood glucose level.
  • The iodine activates the metabolism and helps promote growth in humans.
  • Mekabu is rich in calcium that helps prevent osteoporosis.
  • Mekabu is also an excellent source of vitamin A, C, E and especially K, which assists the body in its blood-clotting mechanism.

    Picture of Mekabu seaweed



    Mekabu Consumption

    The Japanese follow a well-balanced diet mainly focused on consuming the most delicious ocean's seaweeds and botanicals. Mekabu is frequently eaten not only for its nutritional benefits, but for its nice texture, taste and low-calories. It has a slimy noodle like texture with an umami flavor from the sea – a pleasant savory taste combined with mild saltiness.

    To prepare it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, first heat the Mekabu, then cut into julienne. The heating process gives it the slimy texture and the pieces of thinly sliced Mekabu are similar to tiny soft noodles. Add the Mekabu noodle to fermented soybeans and a bowl of Japanese rice. Or just eat it as a salad with cucumbers and a sesame dressing. Simply delicious!


    Picture of Mekabu seaweed and cucumber salad


    If you’d like to try the other part of the plant, Wakame is also commonly used in Japanese cuisine. Except the way to eat it is quite different. Soup can be made with fresh Wakame. Boil it first, then drain & cut into strips. Place in a bowl with the fermented liquid and add thinly sliced beef, fresh soba noodles and spring onions for a fabulous meal that’s full of love for your body and soul.

    Eating seaweed has become a global trend and has expanded its use beyond just an ingredient in sushi. Take a stroll to a Japanese supermarket near you or purchase some Wakame and Mekabu on Amazon. Create one of our above recipes or one from 11 Delicious Seaweed Recipes That Aren’t Sushi. Enjoy a superb and healthy meal!





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