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Also known as carrageen (from the Irish word carraigín meaning “little rock”), the benefits of Irish Moss were well known to the natives of Ireland long before it took on the status of "Superfood".
Traditionally used as a cold remedy, the use of Irish Moss for respiratory ailments is recorded in Ireland way back in 1810. Irish Moss was also used widely in the treatment of tuberculosis and pneumonia.
Perhaps one of the most important and undervalued benefits of this sea moss is its ability to help balance thyroid hormones. Irish Moss contains the vital thyroid hormone precursor DI-Iodothyronine (DIT), and the thyroid hormones Thyroxin (T4) and Tri-iodothyronine (T3). If the thyroid doesn’t produce these hormones as it should, this can have a detrimental effect on metabolism and many other bodily systems. These have been found to be the main organically bound iodine compounds in brown sea moss (Irish Moss).
Irish Moss is also extremely high in the trace element iodine – the thyroid gland contains the highest concentration of iodine than any other organ in the body. You cannot make thyroid hormones without sufficient levels of iodine. Dr David Brownstein, a natural health practitioner with over 20 years experience in his field, found that over 95% of patients with thyroid disorders were iodine deficient. Whilst it is best to work with a practitioner who is knowledgeable about iodine therapy if a thyroid disorder is present, keeping your iodine levels up will go a long way to ensure a healthy thyroid remains that way.
Being a potent source of potassium chloride, this sea moss dissolves catarrh, phlegm and soothes inflammation of the mucus membranes to prevent congestion, helping to clear out the lungs of any phlegm that builds up with a common cold. Because of these expectorant qualities, Irish moss may help to prevent a common cold from turning into pneumonia and can treat other respiratory problems such as bronchitis. Irish Moss also has powerful antiviral properties, helping to prevent or treat a myriad of disorders such as flu, sore throats, chesty coughs and much more.
The human body is made up of 102 minerals and Irish Moss contains a whopping 92 of them. It also provides a wealth of other important nutrients including; protein, beta-carotene, B vitamins, pectin, vitamin C and sulphur. One of the most important of these nutrients is a sulphur-containing amino acid called taurine, which is more abundant in Irish moss than any other seaweed – a nutrient that is commonly lacking in vegetarian and vegan diets.
It is an excellent immune boosting food that can be invaluable in the recovery from debilitating illness. Its high vitamin and mineral content make it the perfect food to replenish and revitalise the body after a long battle with disease.
The high fibre content in Irish Moss exerts a mild laxative effect whilst soothing inflamed tissues within the intestinal tract, potentially providing relief from a whole host of intestinal disorders. It’s demulcent properties promote healthy digestion – soothing the membranes of the digestive tract. The gelatin like content helps to ease gastritis, dyspepsia,
nausea, heartburn and indigestion.
Irish Moss is thought to help reduce the appetite due to its ability to absorb moisture, increasing its volume and filling the intestinal tract with a bulking type material, thus increasing the feeling of fullness. Its gentle laxative effect can promote the elimination process of waste through the gastrointestinal tract. The aforementioned iodine content can boost metabolism which in turn will increase energy and can help to accelerate weight loss.
There are many different ways you can use this nutrient dense seaweed to thicken up dishes ranging from vegan pannacotta to your favourite raw food recipes.
Irish Moss functions as a thinner. As a result, individuals that are taking anticoagulant medications (blood thinners) should abstain from using Irish Moss in any form.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not use Irish Moss as the effects are unknown.