Irish Moss, known by its scientific name as Chondrus Crispus, isn’t moss at all. It is a kind of cold-water seaweed which has been used throughout the centuries in Ireland.
Most people are familiar with seaweed, the dark green, slimy, salty plant that washes up on the seashore or wraps around your leg while swimming in the ocean and feels like a sea monster is pulling you into the abyss. You may have even seen how trendy it has recently become to eat seaweed because of its many health benefits. But have you ever heard of Irish Moss?
Irish Moss, known by its scientific name as Chondrus crispus, isn’t moss at all. It is a kind of cold-water seaweed which has been used throughout the centuries in Ireland. It is believed that it has been use as a food additive since the 15th century. It is in the Red Algae family though its coloration may vary from green, to dark red, purple, yellow, brown, or white. Other than a nutritional snack, Irish Moss has also been utilized as a mattress stuffing, thickener for printing ink, cattle fodder, and in the treatment of tuberculosis and pneumonia.
So, what are the health benefits of Irish Moss? One of the most common uses for the moss its anti-inflammatory and anti-mucus properties. Being that it is full of Potassium Chloride, Omega-3 fatty acids and Chlorophyll, it easily dissolves inflammation or mucus in the respiratory and lymphatic system. Irish Moss also contains antiviral and antimicrobial compounds that help the body fight off infection and boost the immune system. It is extremely beneficial for anyone with frequent allergies or experiencing cold or flu like symptoms.
Eating Irish Moss helps promote healthy digestion functions. Using it topically is good for skincare. The carrageenan in Irish Moss can help soften skin, strengthen hair, and soften the scalp. Therefore, it is often listed as an ingredient in emulsifier in skincare products. In addition to its benefits as an external skincare product, Irish Moss also contains 15 of the 18 elements which make up the human body, which means it is highly useful in rebuilding damaged, undernourished skin from a cellular level. Irish moss is also used to fight against eczema, some rashes, psoriasis and minor burns.
According to Irish folklore, Irish Moss was also once carried on journeys for protection, as well as placed under rugs for good luck.
By: Alejandría Addesso, Kean College, Nueva Jersey
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