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The healing power of Irish moss or carrageenan

  1. Irish moss is a type of red seaweed or algae. It can appear yellowish, greenish to purplish and reddish brown. It is an important plant in the food industry because it extracts carrageenan, a complicated mixture of polysaccharides. The plant grows abundantly around the islands of Ireland and Great Britain and can be found further along the entire European coast. It grows to about 20 centimeters high. The plant is used in phytotherapy, mainly for coughing and lung diseases


  1. Naming Active ingredients Irish moss Irish moss for the throat and lungs Adjuvant for stomach problems Diabetic patients with obesity Strengthener Danger of carrageenan Dose and Warning


  1. The Latin name for Irish moss is Chondrus crispus. In Dutch it is called carrageenan, a word that comes from the Irish word carraigín, which means small rock. This is a reference to the fact that it grows underwater on rocks. Irish moss is a name that refers to the same facts.

Active ingredients Irish moss

  1. The foliage is used from Irish moss. It contains the following active substances: mucilages of which carrageenan and carrageenan are the most important. It also contains iodine, bromine and sulfur.

Irish moss for the throat and lungs

  1. Irish moss can absorb a lot of water. This makes the mucilages active and acquires its soothing properties for the throat. Irish moss used to be used to stop other herbs for coughing. Thus, a herbal mixture was formed that actively counteracts coughing. Because it is an emollient, mucus can be coughed up better. For these reasons, Irish moss is used in phytotherapy for the following indications:

Adjuvant for stomach problems

  1. Irish moss is used as an adjuvant in gastritis because it softens the mucous membranes. The soothing aspect is not enough to cure a condition, but that is why it is also an adjuvant, a substance that helps other active substances. For this reason Irish moss or carrageenan / Image source: Kontos, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Diabetic patients with obesity

  1. Ingesting Irish moss causes a gel to form in the stomach and intestines. This has two important consequences for obese diabetes patients. Firstly, sugars are absorbed into the gel and are released more gradually. The food digests more slowly and that ensures fewer high peaks and dips in the blood sugar level. Second, the gel makes you feel full, which reduces the tendency to overeat. For these two reasons, carrageenan or Irish moss is a great remedy for obese diabetes patients. Of course, diabetics who are not obese also have an interest in less fluctuating blood sugar levels; this phytotherapeutic medicine is also a godsend for them. However, you should not take a cure based on carrageenan permanently; it is a temporary solution to lose some pounds for a few weeks without feeling hungry; after that it is important to focus on healthy eating without too many white flour products and with lots of fruit and vegetables.


  1. Despite its minimal nutritional value, Irish moss used to be mainly given to people who needed to recuperate after a bed of illness. Several cups of tea were given to children and adults who had been ill for a long time. This effect is questionable since the gel that forms carrageenan in the intestines absorbs all kinds of nutrients such as minerals and is less likely to be released into the blood.

Danger of carrageenan

  1. Carrageenan is used in the food industry as a thickener as E number 407. To use it occasionally as a medicine has hardly any harmful effects, but because the food industry uses it as a stabilizer, thickener and texturizer in many thousands of products, there is a good chance that you will eat it daily. Various studies have shown that an excessive intake of carrageenan can lead to cancer. In any case, it has been established that overconsumption in humans leads to intestinal ulcers, blood in the urine and growth disorders in children. For the latter reason, it is prohibited in England to add it to baby products. Several scientists are convinced that carrageenan should not be in food.

Dose and Warning

  1. You can use one and a half grams in a cup of water to make a cup of tea or infusion of Irish moss. In addition, you can boil a soup ladle on a liter of water so that a gel is formed. For flavor you can add stevia, lemon, liquorice, cinnamon or ginger. Carrageenan or Irish moss does not have a toxic side effect, but there are some concerns. If you take a supplement with Irish moss, the supplement will not be absorbed as well. Irish moss can slow down the rate at which blood clots.

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