Only Neptune himself could have come up with the names dulse, whistle wrack, carragheen, dabberlocks, murlin, thongweed and seatangle.

Seaweed has always been used as a valued food source and medicine and there are hundreds of different species in varying shades of red, green, brown and yellow.

The Romans fed it to centurions and their horses on long treks across Europe, and the ancient Greeks spread it on their fields as a potent fertiliser.

Nutritionally speaking, some seaweed - wild Arctic wrack in particular - is the most complete food on earth.

Growing wild in the boundless "vegetable garden" beneath the sea, it has a more comprehensive and balanced range of nutrients than land vegetables.

Last week, I came into contact with a Handcross company that specialises in sustainably harvesting these most nutritious of ocean vegetables among the remote Lofoten Islands, 60 miles off Norway's Arctic coast where the water is icy cold and crystal clear.

Simon Ranger, managing director of Seagreens Ltd, assures me the seaweed is cut from fresh living plants and milled on the spot - no drifting, rotting seaweed or root seaweed is used and there is no damage to the marine environment.

Due to intensive farming, storage, processing and rising deficiencies in our soils, the presence of important minerals in fruit and vegetables has plummeted.

These wild, organic seaweeds collected in Norway, however, are exceptionally dense and rich in all the nutrients, including the trace elements, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids and special polysaccharides.

The Seagreens blend contains all the minerals and other nutrients needed to build and maintain a solid nutritional foundation for humans and animals over the long term without the excessive iodine associated with some other seaweeds such as kelp.

So far, the company has developed a small range of innovative products for everyday use.

Seagreens food capsules are best taken on a prolonged, daily basis to support health and immunity and remove toxins and pollutants.

The special polysaccharides, proteins and minerals in the seaweed bind heavy metals and radioactive substances, removing them from the body.

Only last year, the capsules were endorsed by the president of the British Society For Mercury-Free Dentistry for detoxification in amalgam extraction.

Recently, the company became aware the capsules may prove beneficial for autistic spectrum disorders and has agreed to sponsor a study involving 50 autistic children.

An original range of table condiments and culinary ingredients has also been developed. These provide a useful way of reducing dietary salt in most recipes - a tasty alternative for those suffering from water retention, obesity, cardiovascular or kidney problems.

Find out more about Neptune's bounty by contacting Seagreens Ltd on 01444-400403 or visit the web site at For further details of the autism trial, contact The Autism File, PO Box 144, Hampton, TW12 2FF (tel 0208 979 2525).