Even seasoned sea moss users might not be aware that there are two different types of sea moss. “Sea moss” itself is an umbrella term that describes different species of seaweed. With about a thousand species of them in the ocean, let’s focus this time on one: Chondrus crispus, which we will fondly call purple Irish sea moss.
What Is Purple Irish Sea Moss?
Chondrus crispus – also known by names such as carrageen, Irish moss, and sea moss – is a red algae found on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is widely harvested not just as a sea vegetable but also a popular health food and commercially significant gel or thickening agent.
Purple sea moss has flat fan-like, and wide-shaped tops that resemble leaves or flowers. The color, as referenced by the name, is usually dark purple but can vary.
In terms of geographic distribution, Chondrus crispus is mainly found on the Atlantic coasts of Europe, East Africa, and Northern America. In the Northeast Atlantic, this spans from the coasts of Iceland and Norway, including the British Islands to Spain, France, Portugal, and Morocco. It also spreads to Canary Island and Mediterranean or Greece. In the Northwest Atlantic, it’s from New Jersey to Newfoundland. In the Southeast Atlantic, it’s from Mauritania to Cape Verde Islands to Ghana. Purple sea moss is also recorded to be present from the Bering Sea and Alaska in the Northeast Pacific to Antarctica and New Zealand.
History and Uses
Its history is a colorful and deeply economic one. Chondrus crispus used to be the most important source of carrageenan. However, it has been displaced by other species more conducive to intensive aquaculture, which are less expensive to produce.
This economic importance has made purple sea moss very well-studied and researched. For instance, it’s been cultivated in outdoor tanks as raw material for commercial purposes. Some strains of northwest Atlantic populations, too, are presently being cultivated mass-scale in Canada for human food consumption.
In Ireland, irish moss has been used since the beginning of the 19th century as folk medicine for respiratory conditions. It was exported to New England by famine emigrees in the mid-19th century, then expanded to cooking and sizing of ropes as uses. The Irish still use it for cooking as well as a health drink. Sea moss has flexible food uses, including soups, jellies, desserts, and remedy for colds and influenza.
Benefits From Raw and Irish Sea Moss Pills
Today, Chondrus crispus is not just used in its raw form, but also perhaps more popularly as Irish sea moss pills for daily supplementation. The pill form is the answer to the demand for safe and convenient use of the superfood while one is on the go and does not have direct access to pure, organic Irish moss.
Here are some of the leading health benefits that have drawn people worldwide to purple Irish sea moss supplement:
- Superior nutrient source – Sea moss provides more than 90% of the nutrients needed by the human body, including 92 of the 110 minerals that the body is made of. It is also a rich source of vitamins A to E. This composition helps keep your cells functioning well and better armed to fight disease and nutritional imbalance.
- Digestive helper – Sea moss may help you digest your food with its mucilaginous nature, just like your favorite chia seeds. This texture makes it a wonderful soothing agent for mucus membrane, including your digestive system.
- Weight loss aide – One of the known components of sea moss is iodine, which is found in limited amounts in food yet is needed to produce thyroid hormones. These thyroid hormones control many different processes of the body, including metabolism and weight management. Watch your iodine intake, though, as it comes in exceptionally high amounts in sea moss.
- Skin, hair and nail beautifier – Because of its vitamins and minerals, sea moss is well-suited to improve skin health as well as those of hair and nails. Sea moss mask preparations may help soothe concerns such as eczema, psoriasis, and burns.
- Mood booster – Sea moss is abundant with magnesium and potassium, known mood enhancers for the body. These minerals play an important role in brain function, a shortage of which can make you cranky. Sea moss also helps protect brain tissue and potentially helps prevent degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s.
- Disease prevention – Sea moss strengthens your immune system and helps prevent illness. It assists the body in fighting back against aging and inflammation, as well as viruses and bacteria that can quickly strike when your immune system is down. Sea moss is chock full of potassium chloride, helping lower the risk of infection.
In summary, purple Irish sea moss has benefited generations of people living around the Atlantic waters for its food use, economic benefits, and health advantages from being a superfood.