Irish moss is a form of algae first used in Ireland in the mid 19th century. Since then, its medicinal applications have increased more and more. The thallus of the alga has cartilaginous consistency (Latin Chondrus = cartilage) due to the high amount of mucilage it contains.
Healing properties and Indications
Besides 80% mucilage, the thallus is rich in iodine, provitamin D, and mineral salts. Its most important active component is the mucilage, to which Irish moss owes its emollient, expectorant, and laxative properties.
This alga is recommended for bronchitis and catarrhs since it promotes expectoration, eases coughs, and reduces the inflammation of the airways. It is also suitable for gastritis and intestinal inflammation caused by colitis or chronic constipation. Irish moss is widely used in the food industry because of its jellifying effects.
Irish Moss Scientific Facts
- Other names: Carrageen, pearl moss.
- French: Carragaheen.
- Spanish: Musgo de Irlanda, carragen.
- Environment: This alga grows on underwater rocks in the North Atlantic Ocean, from Ireland to southern Spain.
- Description: Despite its name of moss, it is a red alga (Rhodophyta) of the Gigartinaceae family, whose thallus is from five to 15 cm long. Its color varies from red to ochre, when fresh, and whitish, when dry.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The thallus (the whole alga).
How to use Irish Moss
- Decoction with 10 g of alga per liter of water, boiling for five minutes. Drink two or three cups daily.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 301. Print.