Aphanizomenon flos-aquae is a type of blue-green algae, which are plant-like organisms found in certain bodies of water.1 There are many different types of blue-green algae, but all are used similarly in herbal medicine. Aphanizomenon flos-aquae blooms have been found in areas like Durham, New Hampshire and Kezar Lake.2 It’s important to note that some of these blooms have produced toxins in the past, so it’s especially crucial to proceed with caution if you wish to use aphanizomenon flos-aquae as an herbal remedy.2
Blue-Green Algae Uses and Health Benefits
Many strains of blue-green algae are said to help with a range of health conditions. Among these benefits, blue-green algae is often used as a weight loss remedy, though more research is needed. It is high in iron and protein, along with other minerals, which could assist with a variety of health conditions.1 Blue-green algae has also been suggested to have positive effects on inflammation, the immune system, and viral infections. Various strains of blue-green algae have also been used to treat hayfever, premenstrual syndrome, and stress.1 Other aphanizomenon flos-aquae benefits include for:
Blue-Green Algae Side Effects and Precautions
- Anxiety Disorder (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) - Oral use of blue-green algae may help in treating conditions like anxiety.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - Blue-green algae alongside various other herbs may help in treating ADHD.
- High Cholesterol (Hypercholesterolemia) - Early research shows that the herb may lower cholesterol levels, though more research is needed.
- Depression - Another common aphanizomenon flos-aquae use is in treating symptoms of depression.
- Diabetes - Studies suggest that aphanizomenon flos-aquae may be a viable remedy for treating patients with type 2 diabetes.
Like with any herb, it’s important to take aphanizomenon flos-aquae with caution. More research is needed on all strains of blue-green algae, but as aphanizomenon flos-aquae has been found to produce toxins, it’s best to talk to your doctor before taking a home remedy. All blue-green algae supplements you take should be tested for contaminants and toxins first. Contaminated algae can lead to:
- Stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat
- Liver damage
In extreme cases, contaminated algae can result in death. Blue-green algaes have produced allergic responses in certain patients.4 There is not enough research done on the safety of blue-green algae for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, so it is best to avoid it. Do not give the herb to children.1