What is Irish Sea Moss? & It's Health Benefits
WHAT IS IRISH SEA MOSS?
Sea moss (Chondrus crispus) is a type of red seaweed that’s harvested on the Atlantic coasts near Ireland, Europe, and the United States. Its first known use was during the potato famine in Ireland during the 1800s when people began eating the red algae on the beach. This is where the name Irish Moss originated.
Known as “the collagen of the sea,” it is often used for culinary purposes as a thickening agent or gelatin substitute. Its also been referred to as carrageen moss, as it’s naturally high in carageen. Carrageenan is a common food stabilizer and thickener in foods like almond milk and low-fat ice cream.
It’s also used as a dietary supplement that’s available in powder, capsule, gel, and dried form. Dr. Sebi, a popular herbalist, gets credit for sharing the nutritional benefits. You will find some packages labeled “wildcrafted sea moss” and that simply means it was grown and harvested in the wild, rather than in man-made pools.
The most common preparation is in gel form, which is easy to make at home. Once prepared the gel is nearly flavorless and can be added to beverages and more.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS?
More research is needed to confirm the health benefits of sea moss, but there are some well-known wellness properties. As a reminder, these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and should not replace professional medical advice.
Seaweed in general is known to be very healthy, as it’s high in nutrients such as iodine. With around 92 vitamins and minerals, Chondrus crispus is rich in iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sulfur.
1. IMMUNE SUPPORT
According to this study, Chondrus crispus was found to have antiviral and antitumor properties in animals and humans.
2. HEALTHY SKIN & HAIR
Irish moss is often used in beauty products, as like aloe vera, it’s naturally very soothing and protects the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
3. RESPIRATORY SUPPORT
Irish moss is often added to supplements that support internal mucous membranes, such as the upper respiratory system.
We have many seamoss infusions here such as our seamoss supplements, wellness shots and more. Sea moss is often said to be a wonderful supplement for supporting detoxification. According to many sea moss growers, the high potassium chloride content naturally works to draw toxins from cells, though I have not found any studies corroborating this.
5. GUT HEALTH
Studies have shown that the prebiotic effects of red sea moss may help support a healthy gut, which is important for both digestion and the immune system.
Sea moss is high in iron. Low levels of iron can lead to fatigue. If low iron is an issue for you, try incorporating some sea vegetables into your diet.
7. WEIGHT LOSS
Iodine is an essential mineral that supports thyroid hormone production, and therefore metabolism, among other things. Seaweed is one way to consume iodine, but it’s important to consume the right amount of iodine.
The thickening nature of sea moss may also aid in satiety, similar to chia and flax seeds.
HOW MUCH TO TAKE DAILY
Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of sea moss gel, preferably mixed into a juice, smoothie, or protein shake, per day.
SIDE EFFECTS & CAUTIONS
Sea moss is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation. However, as there haven’t been many human studies, ask your doctor if you have any concerns.
Furthermore, it is a high-iodine food, and too much iodine can be unsafe and cause thyroid problems. If you have a thyroid disorder, or already take any supplements containing iodine, you should definitely speak with your doctor first.
HOW TO USE
Sea moss gel can be added to a number of foods and used topically! It will thicken whatever you add it to, however. One of the most popular uses is in a traditional Jamaican sweet creamy drink. I recommend using a blender to mix the gel into smoothies and other beverages. You can whisk it, but some gelly pieces will remain, much like Aloe Vera Juice.