– Healing Yourself 101 –
What is Irish Sea Moss?
Irish Sea Moss is a seaweed which grows abundantly in the rockier waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is also known to grow in other hospitable waters around the world. Irish Sea Moss, the great alkalizer is also known by some people as Chondrus Crispus, or Eucheuma Cottonii. It had become a general name that had been applied to a range of seaweed species, almost interchangeably across different regions over the years.
However, to say that Chondrus Crispus is the same as Eucheuma Cottonii is not correct. There are differences between the species. But like many things in life, people have commonly called them by the names that they have, possibly because that’s what they have heard from others over the years.
This is a part of the beauty of different cultures and languages, and possibly a little miscommunication unintentionally thrown in for good measure. Kind of like the difference between translation and transliteration. This can bring about some understandable confusion when looking at the many different types of seaweed available on the market.
Is Irish Sea Moss Carrageenan?
The short answer is ‘No’. Unfortunately, Irish Sea Moss seems to have been caught up in the crossfire of the ‘Is Carrageenan bad for you?‘ discussion over recent years. To say that Irish Sea Moss is Carrageenan is like saying that Coconuts are Hydrogenated Oils. It’s simply not the case.
However, Chondrus Crispus has been used as a source of Carrageenan in the past. Eucheuma Cottonii has more recently been used to extract Carrageenan on a commercial scale for quite some time now.
To be crystal clear about this, Irish Sea Moss is not Carrageenan. It has been used in the past to extract Carrageenan, but according to manufacturers, there are more favorable species of seaweed looked to for Carrageenan today. The seaweeds that are harvested specifically for Carrageenan on a commercial scale includes:
- Kappaphycus alvarezii (as a primary source of Carrageenan production)
- Eucheuma denticulatum (as a primary source of Carrageenan production)
- Betaphycus gelatinum (previously known as Eucheuma gelatinae)
- Gigartina canaliculata, and
- Hypnea musciformis
While the most valuable sources of Carrageenan production are found in:
- Mazzaella laminaroides (previously known as Iridaea laminaroides)
- Sarcothalia crispata (previously known as Iridaea ciliata), and
- Gigartina skottsbergii
Often during harvesting Mastocarpus stellatus is collected with Chondrus Crispus and is sold under the name ‘Carrageen’, which is an Irish diminutive of ‘rock’. This species is also very different to the commercially refined product Carrageenan.
As the cataloging of seaweed species gets better, and there is more research in the area of marine vegetables, our collective understanding is also improving. This has seen a literal branching off of species into newer species, and genus into different genus. With the re-categorization of the seaweed world as we know it, the metaphoric waters are becoming progressively clearer (or so it seems).
So, although Irish Sea Moss has been referred to as Carrageen over the years, it is not Carrageenan. Carrageenan is isolated and manufactured from seaweed and sold as a powder. It is not a nutrient dense wholefood.
Sea Moss as an Environmentally Sustainable Wholefood
We have chosen to work with Farmers who carefully cultivate and harvest sea moss, which is a wholefood. Research has shown that the increased cultivation and harvesting of seaweeds in parts of the world have helped to improve the health of the oceans in countries including:
- The Philippines
- Brazil, and
The impressive thing is that sea moss is able to be cultivated in such a way that it gives back to the environment more than it takes away.
If you’re anything like us, making choices that you know will benefit others, and the planet, in a positive way are important. This is why we have put so much effort into sourcing the best quality and still affordable sea moss. You may however choose to buy other sea moss instead, and that’s ok, so we have some tips that can help you find the right sea moss. One that is both an equitable product and is also high quality.
With responsible cultivation and harvesting there have been noticeable improvements in the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) and acidity (pH) levels, and return oxygen (O2) to the water. This has helped to improve the living conditions for other marine life, and the planet as a whole.
Why isn’t Detox and Cure’s Seaweed Wildcrafted?
While there is a big buzz around wildcrafting seaweed, we are not supporters of this approach to harvesting seaweed of any variety. The carefully balanced natural environment where these seaweeds are wildcrafted from quite often depend upon their presence to keep things in check.
When compared to responsible farming, the volume of seaweed which is wildcrafted on a commercial scale is shocking. The sad this is that the seaweed that has been taken away from where it was collected has not been replaced. More often than not, nothing is done to reinstate the seaweed population, or to compensate for the reduction of the food supply for the marine life in the area.
We don’t want to be responsible for upsetting those naturally concurring ecosystems. We would rather encourage you to do your own research, and if you feel the same way as us, then support the responsible farming of seaweed instead.
But I’ve never heard of Wildcrafting, what is it?
Wildcrafting is a romantic ideology. It is also known as foraging. On a smaller scale, where individuals are wildcrafting, or foraging for themselves, the impact is lower. But there is still an impact, which is why many marine parks, coastal reserves, and biospheres are protected. Everything in the places plays a part in sustaining life.
Some seaweed that is wildcrafted is taken away from rocky shores and reefs that depend upon it being there to keep the structure of that environment in place. It can be a key part of the food supply, or even the habitat in which microorganisms live.
We get that it’s nice to embrace the idea of the food that you consume is as natural as possible. And the idea of it being freshly collected from a pristine beach can make you feel warm and fuzzy, but at what cost?
Instead, the approach that responsible Farmers take is to allow the species of seaweed that naturally grow in the waters that they do to flourish.
Techniques such as those used in China’s Yellow Sea have helped to improve the quality of the waters to such a state that shellfish have been able to grow again in abundance.
This is a good sign that more seaweed is much better for the planet than less seaweed. These are the forests of the ocean after all.
Given the choice, would you prefer your sea moss to come from a place like that shown in the image below? Or from a seaweed farm that is run by responsible operators who care about the world they are leaving for the next generation?
How do you Prepare Sea Moss?
As a very versatile product, Sea Moss is able to be prepared easily in any kitchen before it is added to a range of recipes. One of our favorites is the Red Velvet Cake that we make at home, which is great for anyone who is looking for a cake that is:
- Sugar Free
- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free, and
I know it sounds strange, putting seaweed into a cake, but as a wholefood, sea moss is a great thickener to the recipe, and it is an abundant source of vitamins, minerals, and collagen. It has a neutral color when re-hydrated and prepared into a gel or paste.
But what about the smell? Isn’t it pungent? When it has been properly washed and soaked sea moss has virtually no taste. Certainly nothing remotely fishy or salty, which is what many people assume when they first learn about using seaweed in their food.
What are the benefits of Sea Moss?
Sea moss brings a range of benefits to the table. The great thing is that many of us can easily see improvements in our quality of life from simply adding sea moss. As an alkaline food source it help the body to improve the pH balance.
There are many Researchers who have identified that an alkaline diet is beneficial to good health, and that this may well be the key to addressing a range of medical issues we currently face.
There has been interesting research conducted which suggests that sea moss, and the presence of Fucoxanthin, also supports a healthier functioning digestive system.
The findings of the research conducted by a Japanese team indicates that Fucoxanthin stops the body from absorbing unwanted fats. This could be great news for people who struggle with losing or maintaining weight.
Long time proponent of fasting and eating a plant based diet, Doctor Sebi also advocated introducing sea moss into the diet. At the age of 80 he demonstrated how much of a difference this had made to his health where he dropped to his knees on a solid floor in front of a large audience.
Such a display would leave a person of 80 years with extensive damage to their knees that they would very likely be unable to get back up. But, Doctor Sebi sprung back to his feet as if nothing had happened.
Interestingly, it was Lisa Nicole (Left Eye) Lopes who Doctor Sebi credits with his learning about sea moss when he was given a sea moss drink by her during a bonding moment they shared while she was fasting with him.
How Sea Moss Supports Good Mental Health
Understood to contain 92 different minerals that the body needs for healthy functioning, sea moss has been attributed to supporting healthy brain activity and cognitive functioning.
Researchers have gone so far as to say that by having a reliable supply of iodine that conditions associated with mental health such as anxiety and depression can be reduced.
There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence which suggests that eating seaweed regularly can help with healthy bodily functions. This alone we understand is not enough to be conclusive in the eyes of everyone, and there has been extensive study done on the topic.
In fact, studies have been completed by the University of Newcastle, the British Thyroid Association, and Chemists and Researchers at the Hokkaido University, just to name a few, on the various effects seaweed has on health.
The connections between food and mood are not superficial. As you look at the different types of preservatives and additives used in food, the chemical reactions these generate within the body impact on more than just your weight.
You are what you eat, and we have a number of articles on Detox and Cure which highlight the dangers presented by some additives and preservatives.
Removing these, and replacing them with a consistent source of wholefoods, like sea moss and other organic foods, will help ensure that you are getting a reliable supply of necessary nutrients. Some of the vitamins and minerals that help support effective brain function found in sea moss include:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C, and
- Vitamin D
Elements found under laboratory analysis of a typical sample of sea moss also contains trace elements of:
Rich Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to support brain health. Sources of nutrient rich seaweed that contain Omega 3 fatty acids best come from those which are organic.
For these fatty acids to be unadulterated and intact, it is best to find a supplier of seaweed that has not been treated with chemicals, baked, or processed. The benefits of eating dried seaweed far outweigh processed seaweed or supplements.
Our sea moss is of the highest grade, and produced ethically by responsible Seaweed Farmers who do not use harmful chemicals or fertilizers in their cultivation processes.
Sea Moss and Pregnancy
The health benefits of having sea moss while you are pregnant is something that requires careful consideration. Some minerals, while they are extremely important for the growth and development of your baby, will need to be treated with care. Too much of one thing can cause complications just as easily as too little of something else which is also important.
Sea moss has an abundance of minerals and vitamins that can support a healthy pregnancy, and give your baby many of the nutrients it needs to develop fully. Sea moss has been found to help women with a number of stages in their pregnancy including:
- Providing the required nutrients to support the baby’s development
- Supporting good digestive health and reducing gut issues for the mother
- Preventing thyroid dysfunction through hormone production being supported
- Reducing the occurrence of muscle and joint and pain that can arise as the baby drawn much needed nutrients from the mother’s body, and
- Improving the mother’s ability to lactate more effectively through helping to increase the natural milk supply
There are many more benefits to including seaweed in your diet while pregnant than those listed here. We strongly encourage you to speak with your Doctor or Dietitian before making changes to any plan or diet you may already be on. The health of yourself and your baby need to be at the forefront of your mind before you choose to make sea moss a part of your diet.
Sea Moss for Younger Looking Skin
While we are on the topic of babies, it seems appropriate to point out that many of us are on the quest for younger looking skin. Sea Moss is a source of collagen that ticks the boxes for more than just Vegans.
The fact that this is a plant based source of collagen aside, this particular source of collagen is able to be absorbed into the body more effectively than any animal based collagen. Looking amazing no longer needs to be detrimental to animals, or the planet.
As a high quality source of collagen type 1 and collagen type 3, sea moss has been used by many to achieve stunning results including:
- Stimulating natural production of collagen
- Supporting the skin’s elastin through naturally thickening and reducing the rate of breakdown
- Improving hydration and rejuvenation
- Reducing the appearance of deep wrinkles and smoothing out fine lines, and
- Improving your skin tone
After using a salve ointment on a suspicious looking spot I treated the area topically with sea moss and noticed more than just a quick recovery. There were noticeable improvements in skin tone and firmness. This topical treatment was nothing more than dried sea moss that had been soaked, washed, and blended into a gel. No preservatives or chemicals used, just sea moss and filtered alkalized water.
Taking a Holistic Approach
I can recall a long time ago a friend who was studying to be a Nautropath reminded me that it’s not just about what you put on your skin. Her point was that balanced diet and the right sources of vitamins and minerals needed to be considered. She also spoke at length about alkaline foods.
In the words of wisdom she shared with me there was another subtle dimension that I had not picked up on at the time. What we consume is important, however, our overall state is just as important if not more important.
Returning to a point made earlier about mood and food being connected there was something important here. Alkalizing your thoughts, emotions, and energy. This can be done easily with other complimentary therapies such as:
Understandably, these are only a few of the different ways that you can balance yourself, but what do they have to do with sea moss? Everything!
If you prepare your sea moss as we suggest, it is not cooked and has all of the possible energetic properties needed to nourish your body, both physical and energetic. Sea moss is a high vibrational food which can do more for you when it is raw, and not boiled or roasted.
If you give your body what it needs both nutritionally and energetically, you will notice a dramatic difference compared to when you don’t. Many people are noticing a shift in consciousness and an awakening to this understanding. As a high vibrational food, sea moss supports being able to take steps towards a raw plant based diet, and a higher level of consciousness.
Sea Moss as a Preventative Measure
I believe that the body has all that it needs to heal itself of illness, given the right conditions. Everything mentioned here so far is about being congruent with your true self. From making choices for reasons that are important to you right through to simply eating well, exercising, or taking some time out. It all makes up what influences your inner and outer existence.
Preventative measures in health care are more effective than prescription medication, in my opinion. Given my foundation of belief as influenced by the teachings of my Grandmother, I believe that there are more natural remedies for ailments on this planet than we understand.
As we learn more about aquaculture and responsibly harvesting crops from the sea, we will discover that we unlock a whole new worked to health and wellness. Sea moss as a wholefood can work wonders through providing support to your body in ways that you may never have noticed you needed before.
As a source of potassium chloride (CIK), sea moss helps to break down mucous, and dissolve phlegm and catarrhs which helps in reducing inflammation experienced in the mucous membrane. If you are suffering from congestion, sea moss is a very effective natural expectorant.
For more about the different uses, benefits and general information about sea moss, take a look at the articles listed below.
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