Irish Moss, unlike Sea Moss, is a seaweed native to the rocky northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is a dark, leafy seaweed. It is not sea moss, which is more stringy, stick-like, and native to the southern, tropical Atlantic ocean. Also, there is no such thing as ‘Irish Sea Moss’, only Irish Moss, and Sea Moss.
Irish moss includes Vitamins A, E, F, and K, calcium, potassium, and sulfur. It is also a naturally occurring source of iodine, which can be difficult to include in one’s diet through food alone, and is especially important for supporting healthy thyroid functioning.
Rich in potassium chloride, Irish moss helps with congestion and mucus and holds anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
It’s also thought to be good for dry skin and for skin conditions ranging from eczema to psoriasis, making it a valued ingredient for lotions and moisturizers.
The story tells that Irish Moss got its name when it was made famous during the potato famine in Ireland in the 1800s. Because people were starving and desperate for food, they began eating the red alga that was on the rocks. As a result, the name stuck. This alga is also referred to as carrageen moss because of its high carrageen content. The carrageen is used by scientists to make carrageenan which is a common food additive used to maintain stability within processed foods and as a thickening agent.