What is Chondrus Crispus? 8 Amazing Facts You didn’t Know!

Are you confused about the whole Sea Moss discussion and don’t really know ‘what is Chondrus Crispus?’ Let’s take a closer look at this specific species of seaweed to help distinguish it from others that are being referred to by the same name.

A widely used type of seaweed, often referred to popularly as Irish Sea Moss, or just Sea Moss (depending upon which part of the world you are in), this seaweed has become something that is known by different names.

Chondrus Crispus importance is not something to be overlooked. Through this article we will dive into some of the juicy details that will blow you away!

What is Chondrus Crispus Confused With?

The name Chondrus Crispus has been used widely when marketing seaweeds which are not actually Chondrus Crispus.

This may seem like intentional deception to some, but we believe that it is nothing more than what started as a misunderstanding, which then gained momentum as a ‘received opinion’ to morph into ‘social fact’.

This does not make the social fact accurate when you compare the evidence on offer in the marketplace to the textbooks and scholarly research.

Fact 1 – Chondrus Crispus is not what many people think it is

Wait! Chondrus Crispus is not what I think it is?

What is Chondrus Crispus then?

Some call the Chondrus Crispus species of seaweed Irish Sea Moss. While others call the Eucheuma Cottonii species of seaweed Irish Sea Moss. But if you were to be precise regarding the species, the accuracy of this generalisation is appropriately called into question.

Chondrus Crispus is a species of red seaweed that grows in cooler rocky waters. [1]

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Chondrus Crispus – grows in cooler waters like the Northern Atlantic [1]

Chondrus Crispus phylum, the principle taxonomic category, is Rhodophyta. This is a phylum that consists of more than 7,000 different species of seaweed. Eucheuma Cottonii is a part of this same phylum.

When compared to Eucheuma Cottonii, (reclassified as Kappaphycus Aalvarezii) the Chondrus Crispus shape has a flatter looking leafier appearance, while Eucheuma Cottonii can look more twig-like and grows in warmer waters. [2, 3]

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Eucheuma Cottonii – Grows in warmer waters like the Caribbean, Andaman, Java and Celebes Seas [2, 3]

Eucheuma Cottonii (and Gracilaria) is what grows more in the Caribbean, and Chondrus Crispus in the Atlantic, which is what many people would call Irish Sea Moss given the historic records, and the capabilities of this seaweed to grow in cooler waters, and not warmer tropical waters. [4, 5]

Fact 2 – There is Consistent Confusion around Labelling Seaweeds as Chondrus Crispus

Eucheuma Cottonii is very similar to Chondrus Crispus in the manner by which it absorbs mineral elements, macro elements and trace elements from the sea. This is like nothing that is able to be cultivated and harvested on land in terrestrial plants. [18]

However, it is a very different type of seaweed to Eucheuma Cottonii is sometimes referred to as Sea Birds Nest, particularly in Asia. Almost confusingly, this too is known by many throughout Asia as Irish Sea Moss.

This common recognition, or labelling for sale purposes as applied to Eucheuma Cottonii in this part of the world by merchants has meant that Chondrus Crispus has been sold as Eucheuma Cottonii, and vice versa.

Types of seaweed sold online with the wrong botanical names used

Putting that element of confusion aside with regards to the botanical names of species, both carry extremely similar benefits when it comes to their use as a wholefood.

Hopefully this information helps provide you with some context to the question ‘What is Chondrus Crispus?’. If it does, we’re glad to have helped in this small way.

What matters here is that you are getting a whole seaweed, and not a highly refined Chondrus Crispus powder.

What is Chondrus Crispus Traditionally Used For?

Chondrus Crispus has long been a part of the diets of people in the cooler climate areas for generations. [6]

Nowadays, we are becoming more in tune with the ways of our ancestors, and the forgotten wisdom wrapped up in them. Considering the scope of Chondrus Crispus uses and it’s importance in our world today, the research is amazing!

True balance in perspective is one where all things are considered, including the irrevocable value of good nutrition as a healthy way to live. Some may consider this a preventative measure. Others consider it a way of life.

When you combine traditional medicines with modern science, the understanding of the complexities in Nature are becoming more and more apparent. Some of the traditional uses of Chondrus Crispus are explored in detail through the studies referenced below.

Fact 3 – Chondrus Crispus Benefits have been Studied Extensively

Attributed as being responsible for helping the body with many different functions, Chondrus Crispus medicinal uses are broad. It has long been looked to as a natural remedy for treating aliments such as:

  • Bronchitis [7]
  • Pneumonia [8]
  • Intestinal disorders [9, 12]
  • Respiratory problems [10]
  • Tuberculosis [11]
  • Thyroid conditions [13]
  • Tumors, and [14]
  • Influenza [15]

For those who are new to this and found themselves asking’ What is Chondrus Crispus?’ the research referenced here is likely to be enlightening.

As we have become more and more aware of the benefits of seaweed as a wholefood, the nutritional value of this superfood is gaining more and more attention around the world. 

Chondrus Crispus is known to be high in: [16]

  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Iodine
  • Zinc
  • Sulfur
  • Calcium
  • Potassium, and
  • Iodine

Chondrus Crispus typically consists of approximately 15% mineral compounds and 10% protein, and is capable of holding between twenty and one hundred times its weight in water. This is attributed to the polysaccharides housed within the structure of the seaweed. [17]

When washing and soaking dried seaweed, these are the parts that can initially give off a sea-like odor.

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Is Chondrus Crispus Safe for Everybody?

By no means does the information here, nor my opinion on any species of seaweed, extend to the point where I would say that a person who is allergic, or has particular sensitivities to exposure to seaweeds should take them. [19, 20]

Like peanuts, gluten, avocado, lactose, or any other substance that someone has an allergy to, you need to know your body and only give it what it needs. Keep away from anything that you have known reactions to.

If you do have a reaction to something, you should seek medical assistance immediately.

It is quite easy to undertake an allergy test, and these can normally be arranged through your Doctor. Completing an allergy test before introducing a new food to your diet would be a wise move.

Typically, very few people have reactions to seaweed, and the number of people who consume it on a daily basis indicates that it is generally safe to consume. Ask your trusted Doctor or Dietitian first to make sure this is right for you.

The reasons for consuming sea moss include:

If you find that you have any doubt about your understanding of the safety of seaweeds, then I would suggest that you keep to the cautious side of the beach until you understand the topic further.

My only request with regard to this is that you do your own research beyond considering the question ‘What is Chondrus Crispus?’ and learn more before deciding either way. If it doesn’t feel right for you, don’t do it.

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References

  1. “Chondrus crispus Stackhouse, 1797” – World Register of Marine Species, 21 December 2004 [WoRMS]
  2. “Eucheuma cottonii Weber-van Bosse, 1913” – World Register of Marine Species, 13 August 2010 [WoRMS]
  3. “Kappaphycus alvarezii (Doty) Doty ex P.C.Silva, 1996” – World Register of Marine Species, 8 December 2008 [WoRMS]
  4. “Report on Consultancy to the Bahamas Fisheries Training and Development Project (Bha/78/001) on the Marine Plant Resources and their Aquaculture Potential in The Bahamas” – J. A Deboer, October 1981 [FAO]
  5. “Chondrus crispus Stackhouse 1797” – M.D. Guiry, 7 March 2020 [AlgaeBase]
  6. “Chapter Three – Chondrus crispus – A Present and Historical Model Organism for Red Seaweeds” – J. Collén, M. L. Cornish, J. Craigie, E. Ficko-Blean, C. Hervé, S. A. Krueger-Hadfield, C. Leblanc, G. Michel, P. Potin, T. Tonon, C. Boyen, 2014 [Science Direct]
  7. “The effect of Red Seaweed (Chondrus crispus) on the fertility of male albino rats” – N. M. Ibrahim, S. R. Ibrahim, O. H. Ashour, T. G. Abdel-Kader, M. M. Hassan, R. S. Ali, 30 March 2021 [PubMed]
  8. “Prebiotic effects of diet supplemented with the cultivated red seaweed Chondrus crispus or with fructo-oligo-saccharide on host immunity, colonic microbiota and gut microbial metabolites” – J. Liu, S. Kandasamy, J. Zhang, C. W. Kirby, T. Karakach, J. Hafting, A. T. Critchley, F. Evans, B. Prithiviraj, 14 August 2015 [PubMed]
  9. “Prebiotic effects of diet supplemented with the cultivated red seaweed Chondrus crispus or with fructo-oligo-saccharide on host immunity, colonic microbiota and gut microbial metabolites” – J. Liu, S. Kandasamy, J. Zhang, C. W. Kirby, T. Karakach, J. Hafting, A. T. Critchley, F. Evans, B. Prithiviraj, 14 August 2015 [PubMed]
  10. “Integrative Medicine (Fourth Edition) – Chapter 18 – Viral Upper Respiratory Infection” – B. Barrett, 28 April 2017 [Science Direct]
  11. “Saved by seaweeds: phyconomic contributions in times of crises” – O. G. Mouritsen, P. Rhatigan, M. L. Cornish, A. T. Critchley, J. L. Pérez-Lloréns, 7 November 202 [Journal of Applied Phycology]
  12. “Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Parkinson’s Disease” – T. Burdek, 8 October 2018 [PubMed]
  13. “Iodine in Edible Seaweed, Its Absorption, Dietary Use, and Relation to Iodine Nutrition in Arctic People” – S. Andersen, P. Noahsen, K. F. Rex, H. C. Florian-Sørensen, G. Mulvad, April 2019 [PubMed]
  14. “Identification and Characterization of miRNAs in Chondrus crispus by High-Throughput Sequencing and Bioinformatics Analysis” – F. Gao, F. R. Nan, W. Song, J. Feng, J. P. Lv, S. L. Xie, 19 May 2016 [PubMed]
  15. “Efficacy and safety of iota-carrageenan nasal spray versus placebo in early treatment of the common cold in adults: the ICICC trial” – R. Eccles, B. Winther, S.L. Johnston, P. Robinson, M. Trampisch, S. Koelsch, 5 October 2015 [BMC]
  16. “A review of the nutrient composition of selected edible seaweeds” – L. Pereira, December 2011 [ResearchGate]
  17. “Eco-physiological and biochemical study of two of the most contrasting forms of Chondrus crispus (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales)” – T. Chopin, J. Y. Floc’h, 21 April 1992 [Inter-Research]
  18. “Chemical and Minerals Composition of Dried Seaweed Eucheuma spinosum Collected from Indonesia Coastal Sea Regions” – by, A. Diharmia, D. Fardiaz, N. Andarwulan, 2019 [International Journal of Oceans and Oceanography]
  19. “Brown Seaweed Food Supplementation: Effects on Allergy and Inflammation and Its Consequences” – S. E. M. Olsthoorn, X. Wang, B. Tillema, T. Vanmierlo, S. Kraan, P. J. M. Leenen, M. T. Mulder, July 2021 [PubMed]
  20. “Risks and benefits of consuming edible seaweeds” – P. Cherry, C. O’Hara, P. J. Magee, E. M. McSorley, P. J. Allsopp, 6 March 2019 [PubMed]

About the Author

Matthew has been on an active journey towards living a healthy life from a young age. Influenced by his Grandmother, a practicing Naturopath who served her community from the 1940's to the 1980's, his views on living holistically were shaped from a young age. Growing up in different parts of Australia, his connection with the Ocean and a passion for sustainability comes through in everything he does and shares.

"I'm not a Doctor, and I don't play one on the Internet." - me

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