rock in motion, cousin of the rock: nourishing, soothing, thickening, protecting, grounding.
(more pics of fresh irish moss coming as soon when i next visit the sea!)
irish moss (Chondrus crispus): carageen, carraigín (little rock), cosáinín carraige, carageen moss
crispus - wavy margins, trembling
Date: 6 May 2021
Method of preparation: Dried seaweed decoction (5 minutes boiling)
Smell: Wholesome, thick, heavy, barley, linseed, nourishing, ground meal.
Taste: Drying, subtle sea taste, rocks, minerals, nourishment, satisfying, rich, wholesome, protecting,
Body impact: I feel like the sea at its most grounded. Like the shore rocks who are stable, solid, i feel solid and whole, i feel like movement can surround me and i will stay firm, i stay solid. Im sand coloured, my edges are fluid, waving but my centre still solid.
I feel sleepy, slow, maybe even stuck, solid.
I start to feel sick after a while and am clear i have had enough/
Who are they: rock in motion, mineral transformer, they are the rocks cousin, they are communicator between sea and rock.
plant patterns + relations
Irish moss is a red sea algae. common along most of the UK coast, often purple/red to light yellow, flat and fanned, feels smooth and rigid to touch. found on rocks at a variety of tidal ranges, commonly confused with Mastocarpus stellatus, which is very closely related and has similar properties best harvested march - sept
how irish moss can support humans
FOOD As a vital food source (During the Irish potato famine Irish moss was eaten as a staple food).
NUTRITION high in vitamin A as well as containing protein, iron, magnesium and many vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
SKIN CARE as an emoliant in skincare products to soothe inflamed skin
SOOTHING and as a demulcant, soothing sore throats and coughs.
EXPELLING MUCOUS useful as an expectorant for bronchitis and other respiratory disorders as it supports the expulsion of mucous from the respiratory system.
ANTIVIRAL In one study, red Seaweeds were found to have antiviral properties, inhibiting Hepatitus C, which could affirm their use in healing viral respiratory problems.
DIGESTIVE SYSTEM Irish moss is used to support the digestive system, soothing mucus membranes. Research has demonstrated this, finding it to have prebiotic effects and improve gut health and immune modulation.
PREBIOTIC + IMMUNE RESPONSE Another study on red Seaweeds found that they balance the mucosal barrier function (which prevents unwanted pathogens from entering the blood) they act as prebiotics, regulate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and modulate immune response.
CHRONIC DISEASES Studies have also found Chondrus crispus has displayed remarkable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antitumor properties, and could be helpful in chronic diseases.
historical use, alliances + folklore
Historically it has been used as a food thickener, for example Carageen pudding which is a traditional Scottish recipe sweetened with sugar, fruit and milk. In Jamaica It is also used to make a drink called Irish moss, boiled with milk, sweetener and spices like vanilla and nutmeg. I followed a recipe from the Irish seaweed kitchen, processing the dried seaweed into a jelly, combining the mixture with ginger, lemon and honey to make a soothing cough remedy. It is this jelly texture that is used both to soothe the body in illness, and to create thickness in food. IM is often used industrially to thicken foods and toothpastes etc,
Academia. (2001) A guide to commercially important seaweeds on the Irish coast. [Online] Avaliable at: https://www.academia.edu/1864462/A_guide_to_commercially_important_seaweeds_on_the_Irish_coast [Accessed 16.02.21].
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Springer Link. (2015) Prebiotic effects of diet supplemented with the cultivated red seaweed Chondrus crispus or with fructo-oligo-saccharide on host immunity, colonic microbiota and gut microbial metabolites. [Online] Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12906-015-0802-5 [Accessed: 16.02.21]
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Science Direct (2021) Chemical composition, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic effects of Chondrus crispus species of red algae collected from the Red Sea along the shores of Jeddah city. [Online] Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1018364720303141 [Accessed 16.02.21]
Bunker. Francis (2017) Seaweeds of Britain and Ireland. Plymouth: Wild nature press.