Irish Sea Moss (Chondrus Crispus): The Beginner’s Guide| Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.
Chondrus Crispus, also known as Irish Sea Moss, is a type of edible algae or seaweed. This red sea vegetable contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is widely used today to benefit overall health.
The goal of this article is to provide people who are new to Irish Moss with a good foundational knowledge base of Chondrus Crispus and why it is becoming a highly used health supplement today.
- Chondrus Crispus: An Overview
- A Short History
- What Does Irish Moss Grow?
- Why Are People Eating Seaweed?
- Main Highlights & Potential Benefits
- Irish Sea Moss Nutritional Profile
- The Different Varieties of Sea Moss
Chondrus Crispus: An Overview
Scientific Name: Chondrus Crispus.
Other Names: Irish Moss, Wildcrafted Irish Sea Moss, Carrageen Moss, Red Algae.
Appearance: Small, spiny sea algae with firm fan-like branches.
Colors: Ranges from light to dark green, dark red, purple, brown, yellowish, and white.
Taste: Underwater, ocean/fish-like (similar to clams or oysters).
Texture: Slimy, Gel.
Potential Benefits: Immunity, digestion, thyroid, joint health, skin health, bone health.
A Short History
Archaeologists estimate that Irish Sea Moss or Chondrus Crispus has been harvested by humans for nearly 14,000 years. Evidence of this red seaweed’s medicinal benefits can be traced back to 600 BC, and it was originally used as a food source around 400 BC on the British Isles.
Fun Fact: Irish Sea Moss was also used to combat nutritional deficiencies in the 1800s during the Irish Potato Famine. The red seaweed was added to warmed milk with sugar and spices to create a fortified beverage.
Where Does Irish Moss Grow?
Chondrus Crispus or Wildcrafted Irish Moss, can be found growing underwater on the rocky shores of Ireland, and the coast of Europe. It is also found in the cold water of the Atlantic coasts of Canada.
This small red seaweed typically grows on rocks from the middle portion all the way down to the ocean floor.
Irish Moss is also sometimes grown in pools. There are various reasons one should avoid using pool grown moss. We’ll share tips on how to determine the difference between wild and pool grown moss in a later post.
Why Are People Eating Seaweed?
Irish moss is generally consumed as a source of vitamins and minerals to benefit overall health and wellbeing; however, it can also be used topically on the skin.
Wild moss is most often found in supplement form. These Irish Moss supplements come raw, as an already made gel or powder, or in capsule or gummy form. Raw seaweed needs to be soaked and made into a gel before it is eaten. You can follow 5 easy steps to make your own sea moss gel from the article below.
Additionally, some sea moss supplements are offered as a blend including other powerful superfoods such as bladderwrack and burdock root. These combinations are meant to help maximize overall benefits, namely immunity, thyroid, digestive, and joint health.
Main Highlights & Potential Benefits:
- Contains 92 of the 102 minerals that make up the human body.
- Rich in magnesium, detoxifying fiber, pectin, and sulfur.
- Rich in iodine, and raw 'ingredients' that can aid in making thyroid hormones.
- Rich in potassium chloride which helps dissolves mucus, clears congestion.
- Neuro-protective properties may reduce oxidative damage, and cerebral inflammation.
- Works as a mild laxative while feeding the good bacteria, aiding digestion.
- Can reduce appetite, boost metabolism, and promote weight-loss.
- May help remove heavy metals from the gut, neutralizes radiation, builds antioxidants.
- Can improve hormonal balance, boost sexual desire, and increase testosterone.
- Fucoxanthin, found within what makes the algae red, may aid in regulating blood sugar.
Irish Sea Moss Nutritional Profile
According to the US Department of Agriculture, a 2-tablespoon (10g) serving of raw Irish Sea Moss contains the following:
Protein: 0.15 grams
Total fat: 0 grams
Total carbs: 1.2 grams
Fiber: 0.1 grams
Total sugar: 0 grams
Calcium: .5% of the Daily Value (DV)
Iron: 5% of the DV
Magnesium: 3.5% of the DV
Phosphorus: 1% of the DV
Zinc: 2% of the DV
Copper: 1.5% of the DV
The Different Varieties of Sea Moss
There are many varieties of sea moss, however, generally speaking, they can be broken down into two basic families: Chondrus Cirspus and the Genus Gracilaria.
Gracilaria, a golden or purple sea moss, still contains a high amount of minerals and nutrients, though not as high as its cousin, Chondrus Crispus. It is also typically less expensive and easier to source. For this reason, Irish moss is often the superior choice when it comes to seaweed consumption.
Wild Irish Sea Moss is a red, edible seaweed that has been used for thousands of years by both men and women for its health and medicinal benefits. It is high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients and is often used for its purported benefits to the immune system, digestive system, and joint, bone and skin health.
There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing the sea moss supplement that’s best for you. Whether you purchase raw seaweed, or choose gel, capsules, or gummies, you will be on your way to helping you body strengthen and revitalize on a cellular level.
Please speak with your doctor or other licensed healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement including Irish Sea Moss. None of the content on this site is or should be considered medical advice. The purpose of this article is simply to highlight relevant research for those curious about the potential benefits of consuming Irish Sea Moss.