Kombu is the Japanese word for dried (sea) kelp; in China it is called Haidai.
Kombu is known to us from its important role in the Japanese cuisine and is also eaten in other parts of Asia as well. The exact type of kelp used in kombu varies, in Japan the ‘Saccharina japonica’ kelp is the most plentiful . Kombu/Kelp is highly prized not only for its abundance of essential minerals, vitamins, and trace elements but also for its natural glutamic salts: a naturally sweet, superior flavor enhancer which creates the famous savory “fifth taste” (umami) in Japanese cuisine. Many different types of kelp could be used to make Kombu and its preparation is very uncomplicated. In Japan, the whole seaweed is washed thoroughly with seawater, cut into 1 m lengths, folded and dried. The same process is used in new Zealand to prepare our kelp, only it is then milled into granules to be used as a seasoning.
While medical researchers have made advances in cancer prevention and treatment, they continue to look for new cancer drugs. Research has shown that seaweed, in particular brown seaweeds, have compounds that may have preventative and curative effect on cancers and promote antitumor activity. Many possible mechanisms have been proposed to explain that promising effect and most include the stimulation of the immune system, supports of normal cellular health, supports of blood circulation to native body cells and positive effects on the regeneration of healthy tissue.