Sea Moss vs Irish Moss: What's the Difference?

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You probably clicked on this article questioning the title, "’Sea Moss vs Irish Moss’? Aren’t they the same thing?” In fact, they are not. Often mistaken as different names for the same plant, Irish Moss and Sea Moss are two different plants that individually offer great health benefits.  

To start, sea moss is a thicker, more stick like seaweed. It goes by scientific names like Eucheuma and Gracilaria and grows in a more tropical climate.  It grows in a more tropical climate. You can find sea moss in a variety of colors. Most popular are gold and purple, but you can also find rare blue and green varieties.  

Both sea moss and Irish moss have collagen. Collagen has been associated with skin, joint, bone, and heart health. Whichever you use, you will have a reliable source of collagen.  

Irish Moss is a seaweed with flat fan like leaves. It generally has a darker, purple color. Irish Moss grows in colder regions.  

Irish Moss was cultivated by the Irish in during the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1849. This was a period where food was scarce in Ireland. With millions of people dying from malnourishment related diseases, the Irish turned to the sea for their food. Thus, birthing the name, “Irish Moss.” 

While Sea moss is much more abundant and accessible, Irish Moss is harder to come by. It is quite rare that you’ll find a vendor for real Irish moss. Because, they are so often incorrectly exchanged, you could search ‘Irish Moss,’ but you’d get results for sea moss.  

Irish Moss comes in an array of colors Debbie MacKenzie/

Debbie MacKenzie/


Irish Moss also gets a bit of a bad rap for naturally producing carrageenan. Carrageenan is an extract from the Irish Moss plant that is most often used in dairy products, puddings, etc. as a thickening agent.  

The carrageenan extract found in food has, in limited studies, been linked to inflammation, bloating, and food allergies. That inflammation can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Arthritis, and other diseases caused by prolonged inflammation.  

However, those studies don’t show a significant percentage of these cases. It’s also important to note, that the industrialized form of carrageenan, is not like the carrageenan naturally found in Irish Moss.  

The methods, and chemicals used for extraction on an industrial level can cause the carrageenan to become carcinogenic (cancer producing), as well as greatly diminished in nutritional value. 

Another similarity between Irish moss and, specifically, purple sea moss is the presence of Anthocyanin. This is also found in other purple veggies: purple cabbage, eggplant, blueberries. Anthocyanin can prevent cancer, and can improve memory.  

To answer the question if it matters which one to take; it doesn't. Despite being two different plants, Irish moss and Sea moss's similar properties are beneficial to all who consume them.  Take whichever is available and affordable to you.


  • The only difference between Irish Moss and Sea Moss is the name. There is History behind the “Irish Moss” name and how it came abaout.

    Sharon Seymore
  • used the normal sea moss variety previously but just received real Irish Moss from atlantic Holdfast Seaweed LLC. A bit scared of this variety. Strange bumps on the leaves after several cleanings . Could there be some odd parasites in this mess that could hurt me? Freaking worms or something? Internet is giving me nothing from the search of parasites on Sea moss

  • illiterate

    G C
  • I purchased some 100% vegetarian Irish Moss. They refer to them as Veggie Caps.
    450 mg Organic Irish Moss Thallus.
    Can i open the caps and make it inti gel?

  • Great Article! Thank you <3


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