Irish moss (Chondrus crispus)

Irish moss (Chondrus crispus)

*Note: There have been concerns expressed by some that carrageenan -a constituent extracted from Irish moss – may cause inflammation and other potential health risks. The validity of these claims is still being debated (some believe it is the chemicals used in the extraction process, rather than the constituent itself, causing the problem). Use at your own risk, with ample research and the guidance of a qualified practitioner. Only use Irish moss in its whole form (i.e. not an extracted constituent), sourced naturally without adulteration.

Other common names: Carrageenan moss, little rock, carrahan

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The following information may not be re-posted, copied or published without my permission and appropriate credit given. Please contact me via email (listed on the About page) if you wish to re-publish any of the information on my blog.

Family: Gigartinaceae

Actions:

Demulcent, emollient, nutritive, decongestant, soothing expectorant, mild laxative, healing to the urinary and digestive tracts, metabolic stimulant, antioxidant.

Harvest:

Irish moss is a type of red algae, and is rake-harvested from the northern Atlantic ocean primarily.

Part used: All parts, dried

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Constituents: 

Polysaccharides (including carrageenan), iodine, sulfur, fiber, protein, potassium, mucilage, chlorophyll, carotene, sodium, calcium, manganese, iron, copper, and other vitamins and minerals.

Indications:

Nutritional deficiency, poor thyroid function, dry hair, slow metabolism, weight management, urinary tract infections, chest congestion, excess phlegm, dry cough, dry skin conditions (such as eczema, psoriasis and sunburns), constipation.

Medicinal preparations:

Internal

Irish moss has been used extensively as a food additive, and medicinally it is popular when mixed into smoothies and other nutrition-boosting drinks. It can be tinctured, powdered, used in capsules, or decocted and taken as a tea or in syrups.

External

Irish moss can be used in topical creams and ointments designed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, soothe dry skin and treat burns. It can also be used in hair care products.

Contraindications:

Due to the current controversy around carageenan, use caution when using Irish moss. Do not administer to children, or pregnant/nursing women. Medication interactions are possible. Consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before taking this supplement.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

Irish moss was a valuable food during the Irish potato famine, and saved many lives. It used to be carried in pockets to ensure a safe journey and protect travellers.

As one might guess, this algae is affiliated with water, and has a wet, hot constitution.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

 

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