Irish Sea Moss
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 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’, however, Irish Sea Moss has been used to extract Carrageenan in the past. To say that Irish Sea Moss is Carrageenan is like saying that Coconuts are Hydrogenated Oils. It’s simply not the case.
Unfortunately, Irish Sea Moss seems to have been caught up in the crossfire of the ‘Is Carrageenan bad for you?‘ discussion over recent years. 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 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
These are very different species to Chondrus Crispus and Eucheuma Cottonii which are more popularly known as Irish Sea Moss, or simply Sea Moss. Often during harvesting Mastocarpus stellatus is collected with Chondrus Crispus and is sold under the name ‘Carrageen’, an Irish diminutive of rock. This species is also very different to Carrageenan.
As cataloging of seaweed species gets better, and there is more research in the area of marine vegetables, our collective understanding is improving. This has seen a literal branching off of species into new species, and genus into different genus. With the re-categorization of the as the seaweed world as we know it, the metaphoric waters are becoming clearer (or so it seems).
So, although Irish Sea Moss has been referred to as Carrageen over the years, it is not Carrageenan. The concerns around the refined product, Carrageenan, which is typically extracted from red seaweed and sold as a powder, is why you will not find it listed as a product we carry, nor do we suggest you use it.
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
Sea moss is able to be cultivated in such a way that it gives back to the environment more than it takes away. 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. 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 has not been increased 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 encourage you to do your own research, and if you feel the same way as us, the support responsible farming of seaweed.
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. I get that it’s nice to embrace the idea of the food supply that you have being as natural as possible, but at what cost?
Instead, the approach that responsible Farmers take is to allow the species of seaweed that naturally grows 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 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 Irish Sea Moss?
As a very versatile product, Irish 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, Irish 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 rehydrated and prepared into a gel or paste. When it has been washed and soaked it 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 Irish Sea Moss?
Irish Sea Moss brings a range of benefits to the table that many of us could see improvements in our quality of life from. 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 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 a 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 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 thew 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.
The connection 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 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.
Irish 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 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 stated here. It is advisable 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.
Irish 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. Irish 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 plant. 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
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