Herb of the Day: Irish Moss

Herb of the Day: Irish Moss

Posted by TriLight Health on Mar 12th 2020

Chondrus crispus is better known as Irish Moss. This beautiful, highly mucilaginous plant is actually not a moss at all, but rather a type of algae. Found along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea you’ll find Irish Moss growing on rocks. As the name implies, Irish Moss is abundant near Ireland.   It is used topically in skincare products as well as by herbalists in a variety of herbal preparations.

Traditional Herbal Uses of Irish Moss:

  • Antacid
  • Ulcers
  • Anemia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Demulcent
  • Thyroid Support 
  • Emollient
  • Nutritive
  • Kidney Problems
  • Bladder Problems
  • Inflammation
  • More

If you've seen the word "carrageenan" on a food or beverage package, it's made from this moss. Though it is worth noting that Irish Moss is highly processed in order to make carrageenan.  Many nutritional advisers suggest against the use of carrageenan because of how highly processed it is.  Our use of Irish Moss is not as carrageenan but instead as the whole herb. 

The Plant

Irish Moss varies in color from a green-yellow to red.  Some varieties are even a deep, dark purple. This plant grows quite small typically only growing to about 3 inches tall. You’ll find this plant growing on rocks in tide pools and along coasts. Irish Moss grows with a strong stem with many smaller branches growing off of it, almost resembling a small leafless tree. In the U.S. the moss is harvested in the Spring during low tide.