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Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Arthrospira  platensis 

Botanical Family:


Common names in Spanish:


Parts of the plant used:

Leaves, bark, fruits, seed kernels, and root.

How is it used?

  • The Aztec civilization used it as an important foodstuff.
  • Africans prepare a nutritious cake called “dihé”.
  • Spirulina is usually ingested as a dietary supplement in powder, tablet, or capsule form.

Photo: / Google images
Arthrospira  platensis 

Where is it found?

  • Some of the original sources of this freshwater alga include the alkaline lakes of Texcoco, Mexico, and Chad, in Africa.
  • Currently, spirulina is cultivated in many parts of the world.

Spirulina tablets and powder

Photo: / Google images
Spirulina tablets and powder

What is it used for?

  • At least two species of freshwater algae are used as a nutritional supplement
  • They are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • As a dietary supplement, spirulina is employed in weight loss programs or in cases of malnutrition, constipation, gastritis, high cholesterol, and stomach ulcers.
  • Spirulina contains abundant nutrients, including proteins, amino acids, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and minerals.
  • Spirulina decreases appetite, and produces a feeling of fullness in the stomach.
  • It has a soothing effect as an anti-inflammatory and protective of the gastrointestinal system.
  • Spirulina is also a non-irritant laxative
  • It is used to treat dysfunctions of the thyroid gland.
  • This alga also has shown antiviral and anticancer effects in laboratory experiments, possibly due to its antioxidant effects.


Safety / Precautions


  • The safety of this product during pregnancy and lactation has not been established.
  • Some products containing spirulina may be contaminated with other types of bacteria that produce dangerous toxins.
  • Avoid in patients suffering from gout.
  • The lakes where this alga was grown originally, especially Lake Texcoco in Mexico and Lake Chad, in Africa, are highly contaminated with several pollutants, including heavy metals.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!

For further information about this plant, please go to the Scientific Monographs section of this website.