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Irish Moss is species of red algae in the Gigartinaceae family that grows abundantly on rocks in tidal pools in parts of the Atlantic coast of the British Isles, continental Europe, and North America. Also referred to as Sea Moss or Carrageen Moss grows from a discoid holdfast and branches four or five times in a dichotomous, fan-like manner. The alga is cartilaginous, varying in colour from a greenish yellow to a dark purple; when sun-dried and bleached it has a yellowish translucent colour.
Irish Moss exhibits an “Alternation of generations” life cycle with two distinct stages: a sexual haploid stage and an asexual diploid stage. It is often harvested from shallow tidal pools by dredging with special rakes. The Irish Moss is thoroughly rinsed to remove excess sand and debris. Archaeologists estimate humans have been harvesting seaweed, like Chondrus crispus, for nearly 14,000 years and evidence of red seaweed’s medicinal benefits in China can be traced back to 600 BC. Irish Moss has been used as a food source since around 400 BC in the British Isles; however, it got its famous name during the potato famine in Ireland in the 1800s because starving people began to eat the red alga from the rocks.
This seaweed is especially abundant along Ireland’s rocky coastline where it has been cultivated for hundreds of years for both its gelling properties in food and medicinal purposes. This red seaweed naturally contains carrageenan which is a linear sulfated polysaccharide that when extracted is similar to gelatin and widely used in the food industry, for its gelling, thickening and stabilizing properties. Carrageenan’s name comes from Carrigan Head, a cape near Northern Ireland, the title of which was inspired by the Irish word “carraigín,” which translates to “little rock”.
This “superfood” sea moss is consumed for its vitamin and mineral content rich in potassium chloride and iodine as well as other trace minerals. Irish Moss has been used traditionally for respiratory and digestive ailments. Used externally, Irish Moss has been used to soften and soothe the skin in cases of sunburn, chapped skin, eczema, psoriasis and other rashes.
The taste of Irish Moss is that of seaweed and its energetics are cooling, demulcent and emollient. Irish Moss has an affinity to thyroid, endocrine system, immune system, digestive system, respiratory system, musculoskeletal system and skin. Combine Irish Moss with other superfoods such as Moringa, Chlorella, Wheatgrass or Spirulina to support general maintenance of the body. For lung support combine Irish Moss with Plantain Leaf, Fenugreek, Mullein Leaf or Coltsfoot.
How to use:
1 teaspoon of Irish Moss (cut & sifted) to one cup of boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes, strain and drink up to three cups a day.
The Irish Moss Powder can be applied on the face as a mask; or added to food, smoothies and other beverages.
Irish Moss Mask:
Apply a small amount of Sea Moss on your face. After applying, your skin will begin to get tighter. Leave the mask on your face for 15 to 20 minutes. Clean your face with lukewarm water and apply your favourite Gaia Garden moisturizer.
Cautions & contraindications:
Seaweeds contain naturally high levels of iodine, which is contraindicated in persons with hyperthyroid. This product is harvested from the sea therefore occasional shell fragments may be present in the product. Consumption of this product may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to fish or shellfish.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.