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

 

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 similar 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 climates like the Caribbean, southern Asia and southern Africa. You can find sea moss in a variety of colors. Most popular are gold and purple, but you can also find rare blue/green varieties.   

 
 

Both sea moss and Irish moss are red algae, rich in the proteins that form collagen in the body. Collagen is associated with healthy skin, joint, bone, and heart health. Whichever you use, you will have a reliable source of collagen.   

Irish Moss, scientifically known as Chondrus crispus, is a seaweed with flat, fan like leaves. It generally has a dark, purple color, but some people bleach in the sun to get a gold variety. Irish Moss grows in colder regions such as Europe, North America, Canada and Peru. 

 

Chondrus crispus was consumed 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 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. 

9 comments

  • Hey Chas,
    This is almost a year late, but I’ve been ordering Irish moss from Atlanta holdfast seaweed company for about 2 – 3 years now.

    A lot of what you see on Irish moss after cleaning are sea bugs and underwater plant debris. It does have little whiteish bumps on it that are easy to notice after it’s hydrated. I pull them of during my cleanings.

    I haven’t had an issue with their Irish Moss thus far.

    You may be able to take pictures of the bugs and bumps you see on the moss and cross reference them with pictures on google images though.

    Jb
  • Dear Sir/Madam,

    Hope you have a good working day!

    May I take this opportunity to introduce our company.

    We are Sovimex co.,ltd local in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We are producers of dried seaweed products and supply large quantities per month. The products have the best quality and competitive price.

    Main products are:

    + DRIED SEAMOSS

    + DRIED SEAGRAPE

    + ULVA LACTUCA

    + SARGASSUM

    Packing method: small bags, zip bags, paper bags, cartons, plastic jars,
    with any weight. The labels as your requirements.

    Should any other items be of interest to you, please let us know and we shall be pleased to make you offers.

    I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Kind Regards,
    Harry Nguyen
    SOVIMEX CO., LTD
    2/49 Phan Thuc Duyen Street,Ward 4, Tan Binh Dist,
    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Tel/Fax +8428 39483538 / +8428 39487160
    Cellphone/Whatsapp: +84 767710399
    Zalo: 0967751665

    Harry Nguyen
  • I here can I get gold seamoss

    Ovas Powell
  • 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

    Chas

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