Sea Moss: The Ancient Mucus-Fighter that Still Works Today
Sea moss, also known as Irish moss, isn’t something that you’d find in the typical American diet.
But during this season of allergies, colds and the flu and this horrible pandemic, sea moss is something you may want to get more familiar with.
Sea moss is a type of red algae that grows on the Atlantic coastlines of North America, Europe and the Caribbean Islands. Since the 1800s, the Irish have been harvesting it from their rocky shores to use as medicine. They even used it to get the nutrients they needed during times of famine. Jamaicans have also traditionally used sea moss to treat illness, and some have touted it to be the perfect elixir to increase male libido. But don’t just take our word for it.
“Irish sea moss has been used for generations in places like Ireland, Scotland, and Jamaica in food and as folk medicine,” said Robin Foroutan, R.D.N., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Typically it is harvested to make carrageenan, a thickening agent for smoothies, shakes, puddings, jellies and soups.
Sea moss is high in immune-boosting nutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, it may also support the immune system and help you fight off cold and flu symptoms, added Foroutan. One 2015 study found that sea moss’ prebiotic effects improved the gut microbiome, which leads to heightened immunity.
It is a source of potassium chloride which has both anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties, respectively. This means it has the ability to reduce inflamed tissue and also expel mucous. Additionally, potassium chloride has antimicrobial and antiviral agents, so your immune system gets a boost as it helps you drain mucus from your body.
Worried about where to find this gem? Check out this video showing you how to encapsulate dry (unground) herbs using a capsule filling machine.
Like aloe and okra, Irish moss is a mucilaginous food, which mucus-like texture (sticky, thick) can double as a remedy for irritation. This snotty-substance also dissolves in water, so sea moss can tend to act like a