irishmoss large Irish moss

Irish moss | Chondrus crispus

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include Irish moss, Carragheen, Carrageen moss, Rock moss, Jelly moss, Curly moss and many others.

Despite its many common names alluding to it, Irish moss is not in fact a moss but an algae/seaweed. It isn't confined to Ireland either and can be found along the Atlantic coast of Canada and North America and all around the UK and Irish coast. It is also seen along the French, Spanish and Portugese coastlines.
 
It is purplish/brownish/red in colour but can also bleach out to a yellowish/white colour in the sunlight. It consists of a narrow stalk which is attaches to rocks with and fans out into flattened fronds, the whole structure being up to 20cm long. Irish moss is a perennial seaweed living for up to 6 years if conditions are favourable.
 
It often forms carpet like clumps along the rocks.
 

Irish moss dried herb is available to buy in our herbal shop.

 


harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

With a very good seaweed book, the odd youtube video and some meticulous checking and double checking, it is possible to harvest from all around the rocky shores of Britain and Ireland. It is often found in rock pools and clinging to rocks along to mid to low shoreline.
Harvesting in ireland traditionally occurs after the spring tides but can also be from mid to late summer. The fronds are combed from the rocks with the fingers or simply gathered up loose. Rakes are often used to drag it off the rocks for small scale commercial harvesting. Wash thoroughly, spread thinly on a tray or similar and leave to dry in the sun preferably. Turn and spread regularly to ensure the seaweed is completely dried It will be somehwhat bleached and crispy textured when fully dry.
 
 
 
A little video on how to identify and gather irish moss.
If buying Irish moss form the internet, make sure it is the correct kind, latin name Chondrus crispus as there are many other products with similar names.

 

Irish moss dried herb is available to buy in our herbal shop.


therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Irish moss has a long history of traditional use as both a medicinal and nutritional plant and for use as a thickening and gelling agent. It is rich in nutrients such as sulphur, iodine, iron, bromine, trace mineral salts, vitamin A and B1, fibre, polysaccharides and lots of mucilage. In past times it was regularly added to soups, stews and salads for its nutritional content and for its thickening or gelling qualities.
 
When used as a tea it yields much slimy mucilaginous gel which acts as a protective coating to damaged or irritated membranes. But that slightly salty, slimy quality has rather magical effects on the internal tissues.
This mucilage moistens and lubricates dry tissues  such as skin, mucous membranes (which line most internal passages and organs), connective tissues and synovial joints (joints with fluid sacs such as the knees, hips, shoulders etc) so can greatly improve joint health as well as soothe, feed and strengthen respiratory passages. The salty mucilage penetrates dry, hard tissues bringing much needed moisture and nutrition to these parched and atrophied tissues. This also encourages the release of long held toxins, breaks up hard swellings and congestion and effectively revives and cleanses the tissues. Read how an 81 year old uses irish moss to keep his joints strong and supple.
 
Helps coat and protect ulcerated membranes in the digestive and genito-urinary passages, stomach or intestinal ulcers, helps protect from stomach acids in heartburn, acid reflux, oesophagitis, indigestion and gastritis and could help soothe Crohns disease. It also acts as a prebiotic, encouraging growth of certain strains of beneficial bacteria and decreasing levels of some less beneficial ones.
 
The tea is a gentle yet effective lubricating laxative very useful in constipation.
 
Irish moss is held in high esteem for chronic debilitating respiratory conditions such as tuberculosis, bronchitis, dry coughs etc
 
Antibacterial and antiviral.
 
Can bring down high blood pressure, thins the blood somewhat so improves circulation of fluids, is an anti-coagulant and also cleanses the blood of excess cholesterol and fats. It contains the substance lecithin which is an emulsifier.
 
Its rich nutrient content and ability to moisten and nourish the tissues make it very useful to combat weight loss, other wasting diseases, general weakness and an inability to gain weight. It can also help you to shift that weight gain if its connected to a sluggish thyroid hormone output or hypothyroidism.
 
It soothes and protects against kidney and bladder inflammation and irritation and can be used in cystitis.
 
It can form a useful moisturising base for creams and ointments with other natural ingredients added. It also acts as an emulsifier, binding oils and water together smoothly.
 
Irish moss is also being studied as a beneficial agent in protecting the nervous system in conditions such as Parkinsons disease.
 
A link to a man who uses irish moss in smoothies for fasting purposes, read the comments too for some interesting info!
 
Caribbean islanders consider it an aphrodisiac and sexual performance enhancer.
 
An extraction of Irish moss, carrageenan, is a common ingredient in cosmetic products such as face creams, hair conditioners and toothpastes (where it acts as a moisturiser and softener) as well as many food products.

dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

*Avoid if taking blood thinning medications.

*Avoid if you have an overactive thyroid or if you are on medications for hyperthyroidism (due to its high iodine content).

*Don't take Irish moss at medicinal doses for extended periods of time, up to a week or so maximum.

*Too high a dose can cause loose bowel movements.

*Seaweeds generally are known to absorb trace amounts of metals from the sea, some of which are toxic such as cadmium and lead. Avoid seaweeds from polluted areas where possible.

*There is some concern that carrageenan (present in irish moss) can cause gut inflammation. This is somewhat contoversial as in its whole form irish moss has been in use as a food and medicine for centuries - read more here and also here.

*Avoid during pregnancy.

 

Adult 

Dried herb in tea form: use 1 teaspoon of dried herb and add boiling water, stand for at least 10 minutes and drink up to 3 cups daily. Alternatively, use 3 teaspoons of dried herb and simmer in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes or so, strain and drink throughout the day.

Fresh herb: add small amounts (a sprinkle) to salads or soups and stews occasionally.

Powdered herb: a small pinch of powder in mornings (to protect and strengthen lungs for example).

 

 

Children
Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.

E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.

 

 

 

 

 


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