The health benefits of Irish Moss seaweed are extensive. This red marine algae has exensive medical and cosmetic applications, some of which have been used since the 1830s - we'd call that tried and tested!
This amazing seaweed has been thought to have a positive effect on a wide variety of ailments including:
Lung conditions like Tuberculosis
Halitosis (bad breath)
Irish Moss – Coughs, Colds & Respiratory Ailments and Viruses
Irish Moss has been celebrated for centuries in Ireland for its soothing influence on the body’s mucous membranes and is still being used in Ireland to make traditional medicinal teas and cough medicines to fight colds, bronchitis and chronic coughs. This softening quality is known as 'demulcent' and has been used traditionally to help many respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis. It is used as an expectorant that can relieve dry coughs, and its rich mucilage content (which gives it its characteristic fleshy constitution) makes it an effective treatment for mucus build-up and sore throats.
In fact, many species of seaweeds contain complex sulphated polysaccharides which have been show in multiple research studies to inhibit the replication of viruses. This article goes as far as to claim that seaweeds could be seen as anti-viral therapeutic agents against SARs-CoV-2. (O'Keefe et al. 2010, Barton et al. 2014, Shi et al. 2017, Pereira 2018b, Barre et al. 2019, Lee 2019, Rosa et al. 2019).
Irish Moss and Weight Loss
Irish Moss has also been associated with weight loss. The iodine content supports thyroid health, which in turn promotes healthy metabolism.
Like many other seaweeds, Irish Moss contains very few calories, no fat, and its fibre provides a feeling of fullness (100g of it contains a mere 49 calories, no fat or cholesterol, and 10g of fibre). Dietary fibre absorbs water from the small intestine and encourages a feeling of fullness, which inhibits overeating.
The fibre in Irish Moss also has a mild laxative effect which can help with constipation by flushing accumulated matter from the colon.
Irish Moss and Heart Health
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for a healthy heart, and many seaweeds, Irish Moss included, contain these essential elements in healthy ratios. Fish are known to be a source of fatty acids, and guess where they get them from – seaweeds! This means the benefits of a healthier heart can be achieved without eating fish (which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea!).
Irish Moss – Stabilizing Blood Sugar
The red seaweed contains a substance called fucoxanthin, which is a pigment found in seaweeds and can act as an anti-oxidant for humans. Studies have shown that fucoxanthin has potential in preventing lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and other chronic disease as well as obesity.
Which Nutrients, Minerals and Trace Elements are Present in Irish Moss Seaweed?
Irish Moss consists of nearly 10% protein and about 15% mineral matter. It is rich in many nutrients and is said to contain 15 of the 18 essential nutrients and minerals human bodies require for optimal health, including calcium, iodine, sulphur, magnesium and potassium as well as vitamins A, D, E, F and K. Other compositional studies have shown Irish Moss to also contain:
- Sulphur compounds
- Various amino acids such as taurine
Irish Moss can contain up to 41% of our RDI (recommended daily intake) of magnesium. It’s a important mineral cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems which regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body. This includes protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium helps the body to absorb calcium more easily, which is important to build bones, and helps to prevent osteoporosis.
Irish Moss can offer a source of Iron – 100g of Irish Moss can supply up to 68% of our RDI in iron, which is high even when compared to other sea vegetables. Iron helps to build haemoglobin in our red blood cells, which in turn carries oxygen from our lungs to our body’s cells. While iron deficiencies are common in the West, ultimately such deficiencies are easy to treat; simply eat more iron-rich foods!
Irish Moss is an excellent source of iodine – While brown seaweeds like kelp are generally regarded as the ultimate sea-based source of iodine, Irish Moss also contains sizeable amounts of this absolutely essential mineral. Iodine is needed for proper thyroid function, and since the soils are now so depleted, sea vegetables offer an excellent source of iodine.
Irish Moss can offer a source of B vitamins - especially riboflavin (B2) and folate (B9). Our bodies need vitamin B2 to help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Vitamin B plays a vital role in maintaining the body's energy supply. We need folate to make DNA and other genetic material; but combined with vitamin B12, folate helps create normal red blood cells.
The seaweed is also a 'time released' energising fuel source, providing a long chain polysaccharides that help to deliver nutrients over a longer period of time, for a slower and more sustained nutritional uptake.
Using Irish Moss Seaweed
With such an impressive mineral content, it is no wonder that Irish Moss is gaining popularity worldwide. The seaweed is extremely versatile, so it’s easy to incorporate this nutrient-dense food into everyday diet with a little preparation. Irish Moss seaweed should be made into a gel which can be stored in the fridge for weeks. Read here for for options on preparing raw or cooked versions of Irish Moss gel.
Add Irish Moss to smoothies, soups, broths, raw deserts. Read here to learn more about all the ways Irish Moss in the kitchen or as a cosmetic.
Irish Moss Also Has Cosmetic Applications!
Irish moss is thought to have many cosmetic properties, from helping rid the body of varicose veins, to reducing the appearance of wrinkles. The moss gel can be turned into face masks or even a. Lotion to treat sun burn.
There are many ways you can consume Irish moss and benefit from its nutritional strengths; read more about it here - How to Use Irish moss.
Find out more about what the Irish moss seaweed plant is, including why it shouldn’t be confused with carrageenan: What is Irish moss?
Buy your packet of nutritional Irish moss seaweed here and try out our recipes. (We ship internationally, including USA.)
Disclaimer: This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is generic and may not include the latest research. We encourage you to do your own research and discuss your findings with a qualified health practitioner who can help you validate the outcomes in the context of your specific & individual health situation. Please note that the nutritional composition of seaweeds can be impacted by a number of factors including climate, growing conditions, sunlight, harvesting and processing. All numbers quoted in this article are gleaned from publishes sources but may vary over time.