most of us in the world of wellbeing have heard about it – there has been noting short of a buzz in recent years when it comes to the nutrient density which this phenomenal marine vegetable has to offer us.
Also known as Irish Moss, this medicine is actually a collection of different kinds of seaweeds which contain the same medicinal, nutritive and overall benefits. From Chondrus crispus (shop here), Eucheuma Contonii and Gracilaria there are a few species which belong under the term ‘sea moss’, each specific to different regions and marine climates.
Chondrus crispus is a red algae which grows abundantly along the rocky coastlines of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – some of the most well-known and notable shorelines being those in the Caribbean, Java, Europe and along the British Isles. This humble little seaweed looks somewhat like a red leaf of lettuce but comes in an incredible variety of colours, including yellow, green, purple and maroon.
Irish sea moss has been used as a medicine and nutritional ally with some evidence in China dating back as far as 600-400B.C.
The name ‘Irish moss’ isn’t due to where the seaweed comes from, but rather has a far more intricate and relational story:
During the Potato Famine in the 1840s, the entire Irish population faced catastrophic disease and starvation which continued for almost a decade. Due to this people turned to what is commonly referred to as ‘famine foods’ – it was then that the Irish peoples discovered sea moss as a phenomenally nutritious and sustaining food source, allowing for them to not only have a source of food and nutrients but also consume an incredible medicine to keep them dis-ease free.
AS A MEDICINE:
“[Sea moss] is rich in iodine, among other vital nutrients. As a result, it may offer health benefits including improved heart health, improved blood sugar regulation, and reduced risk of cancer,” says Kristin Gillespie, RD, who is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Nutrient, vitamin and mineral dense, sea moss contains 92 of the 102 essential minerals which we need on the daily to promote and aid in maintaining health, it provides a whole food source of Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and iodine which is a micronutrient essential for the health of the thyroid. It is also rich in amino acids, Vitamins A and C and omega-3’s.
It is additionally a wonderful source of antioxidants which aid in protecting the body from the negative side effects of oxidative stress and damage on organ tissues and cells.
It contains a powerful amount of primary metabolites which promote mucilage - this thick substance is water soluble and therefore easily processed by our gut microbiome. When digested this mucilage travels through the bloodstream and can provide skin elasticity, joint support and healing injury, support healthy digestion and even ease a sore throat. These chemical constituents are also beneficial in improving immune response and facilitate wellbeing.
Other health benefits include thyroid support which in turn aids in balancing endocrine function and weight management, modulation of immunity, supports the metabolic process, reduces cholesterol levels and supports cardiovascular health, improves blood sugar levels and traditionally has been used to improve fertility.
Topically it aids in easing eczema, acne, psoriasis and can promote skin elasticity and even tone. It is also used as a hair treatment to bring moisture and softness.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists the following nutrition facts for 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of sea moss:
- Calories: 5
- Total fat: 0.02 grams (g)
- Protein: 0.2g
- Carbohydrates: 1.2g
- Dietary fiber: 0.13g
- Sugars: 0.06g
- Calcium: 7.2 milligrams (mg)
- Iron: 0.89mg
- Magnesium: 14.4mg
- Potassium: 6.3mg
- Vitamin A: 0.6 microgram (mcg)
- Vitamin C: 0.3mg
- Vitamin K: 0.5mcg
Sea moss’ most well-known and celebrated chemical constituents is Carrageenan which has been used in cosmetics for many years for its moisturising and beautifying effects – however it is additionally an incredible antiviral, antibacterial, heart supportive, anti-tumor, anti-hyperlipidemic and assists in the modulation of the immune response.
MAKING SEA MOSS – The traditional way
Along with adding to your smoothies or sprinkling over your salads this incredible medicine has some really interesting applications for internal and external preparations.
Jamaican Sea moss Drink:
- 2 tbsp sea moss gel (see below)
- 1 ¼ cups mylk of choice
- Sweetener of choice (dates, honey, coconut sugar etc)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- Some suggested allies: Pine pollen, Shatavari, Maca, Mucuna, Gokshura, Eleuthero
- Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth – this can be enjoyed either warm or cool
Taking 1 part sea moss (1Tbsp) to 4 parts water allow the sea moss to sit in spring water for 12-48 hours
METHOD 1: add to a blender until the liquid is smooth and refrigerate
METHOD 2: Add another 4 parts water and pour sea moss mixture and water into a pot – allow to simmer for 5-15 minutes on low heat. Once cooled, either strain or blend and refrigerate
How to use sea moss gel?
- Put it in a smoothie
- Freeze in ice blocks and add to your water
- Make a face mask with other ingredients such as Triphala, turmeric and essential oils
- Use it as a binder in ingredients
- Give it to your plants
- Put it in your hair
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