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The healthy benenits from irish moss

The first thing to know about Irish moss is that it isn’t a moss at all – it’s seaweed.

Also known as carrageen (from the Irish word carraigín meaning “little rock”) and by its scientific name Chondrus Crispus, Irish moss is a species of red algae that grows in the cool Atlantic waters along the rocky coastlines of Europe and North America. It's also popular in Jamaica.

Exceptionally rich in nutrients and antioxidants, Irish moss is quickly gaining a reputation as the next big superfood, in line behind kale, blueberries, and fish rich in omega-3s.

The good

The healthful properties of Irish moss include Vitamins A, E, F and K, calcium, potassium, and sulfur. It is also a naturally occurring source of iodine, which can be difficult to include in one’s diet through food alone (making iodized salt the most common source), and is especially important for supporting healthy thyroid functioning.

Rich in potassium chloride, Irish moss can work wonders for congestion and mucous and holds anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

It’s also thought to be good for dry skin and for skin conditions ranging from eczema to psoriasis, making it a valued ingredient for lotions and moisturizers.

Carrageen in Irish history

The benefits of carrageen were well known to our Irish ancestors, who harvested it for centuries.

According to Seaweed.ie, the use of Irish moss in treating respiratory problems was first described in Ireland in 1810. The name “carrageen,” which, in addition to its Irish language origins may also stem from Carrigan Head in Co. Donegal was first introduced around 1830. It was especially important during the Great Hunger (1846-51) as one of the few sources of nutrition still available, at least to those living near the coast.

Irish moss, like a number of the other seaweed varieties found on the Irish coast, is harvested after the spring tides, when the water is farthest from the shore. Traditionally, harvesters venture out into the shallow waters by boat or on horseback and use long rakes to separate the seaweed from the rocks. It is then sorted and laid out in the sun to dry for up to two weeks.

You can still get the external benefits of Irish moss by whipping up a batch of this lotion.

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