When we think of the ocean, we rarely neglect the many beautiful plants and corals that spread across the ocean floor. Among the most popular ocean plants is sea moss. Though sea moss can act as a nutrient-dense food source or a hiding place for fish under the sea, it can also provide health benefits to humans. Irish sea moss is one of the most commonly used sea mosses, due to its ability to act as a food and a healing topical agent.
What is Irish sea moss?
Irish sea moss, otherwise known as Irish moss or seaweed, is part of the Chondrus crispus species and is a type of red algae found in the ocean. This moss primarily grows along the coasts of Ireland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland.
Irish sea moss, when extracted from the ocean, is commonly used in beer brewing, to make jellies, and in many ice-cream-making processes. In nature, it generally shows off a deep purple or brown color, while when air-dried, it usually turns yellow or green.
Benefits & How to Use It
Irish sea moss can be consumed in foods or applied directly to the skin. Both methods can have extremely positive health outcomes if used properly.
Irish sea moss is often incorporated in skin creams. One study found citrulline-arginine, a substance found in this sea moss, can reduce skin aging. The substance protects the skin by promoting cell growth and metabolism. When found in skin creams, citrulline-arginine can also shield the skin from deteriorating in cold, dry climates or even treat minor wounds.
Common beauty products that incorporate sea moss include:
- Body oils
- Face masks
If you purchase a product containing sea moss, make sure to follow the label’s instructions on how to apply it to your body, how long to let it sit and how to clean it off. Different products may have varying application instructions.
As a Superfood
Similar to parsley or other garnishes, sea moss has very little taste. Some people may refer to it as a superfood due to its large amounts of nutrients and vitamins.
Some people may eat sea moss plain, but most people will use it as a substitute for other nutrient-dense greens in recipes. You can easily incorporate Irish sea moss to food. Some of the most common foods to add the moss to include:
Not only does sea moss bring a unique texture to otherwise ordinary foods, but it also provides lots of health benefits. Some of the most common health boosters include:
- Improved immunity, due to its large amounts of vitamins and antioxidants
- Improved digestion, due to its bacteria-fighting capabilities
- Replenishment of essential vitamins
Though sea moss is generally believed to be healthy for human consumption, certain side effects can follow. Sea moss contains large amounts of iodine, a substance known for promoting thyroid health. Too much iodine can result in thyroid dysfunction or harm. Some studies say too much iodine could result in thyroid cancer.
As a precaution, people should monitor the amount of sea moss they consume and stray from eating large amounts at a time. Talking to a medical professional before incorporating Irish sea moss to the diet is another safety precaution to take.
Other side effects of using or consuming sea moss may include:
- Burning or reddening skin
- Itchy or irritated skin
- Nausea and/or vomiting
If you experience any of these side effects, inform your doctor and stop the use of sea moss immediately.
Irish sea moss can be an easy addition to an ordinary diet. Alternatively, people can reap its benefits by applying it to their skin. Though generally deemed healthy, exact sea moss benefits are not completely clear.
If you are thinking about adding sea moss to your diet, you should consult with your doctor first. They will be able to provide more information on whether or not sea moss would be a healthy addition to your diet.
Further, when purchasing products that contain sea moss, look to the packaging labels for more information. You may want to look out for the following:
- What, if any, government labels the package has to determine the level of regulation and testing the product underwent
- Other ingredients in the product that you could be sensitive to
Disclaimers: This article does not constitute professional medical advice, nor can it replace the advice of a licensed professional.