Irish Moss is collected from rocky coastlines around the North Atlantic. Large amounts are gathered from the Massachusetts coast, and in Europe mainly from Ireland and Brittany. In Ireland collection takes place in the fall, in America in the summer.
Recent research has shown an anti-viral property against the influenza B and the mumps viruses. Unfortunately the research was undertaken on animals, but supports the traditional use of Irish Moss in such conditions.
Irish Moss as an Herb for Medicinal Uses
Irish Moss is used to boost the body when recovering from a serious illness, due to its high content of important nutrients. It has been used to treat bronchitis, goiter, thyroid problems, and to tone and strengthen the body's glands.
Traditionally the main use of Irish Moss is in respiratory illness where it is often the core of prescriptions to treat irritating coughs, bronchitis and many other lung problems. Because of its mucilage content Irish Moss has been known to assist lung and kidney problems.
It may be freely used in digestive conditions where a demulcent is called for, such as gastritis and ulceration of the stomach and duodenum. The soothing activity is also seen in inflammations of the urinary system, and was at one time used extensively in the way Corn Silk is today. It has been used as a food in maintenance diets for diabetes patients.
A popular remedy is made into a jelly for pulmonary complaints and kidney and bladder affections. The decoction is made by steeping 1/2 ounce of the Moss in cold water for 15 minutes and then boiling it in 3 pints of milk or water for 10 or 15 minutes, After this process, strain and season with liqorice, lemon or cinnamon and sweeten to taste. It can be taken freely.
Irish Moss as a Skin Softener
Irish Moss finds a use in cosmetics as a skin softener. It nourishes and protects skin from environmental elements. It is effective against halitosis, the formation varicose veins, inflammation, and against dysentery and has been applied as an emollient.
Irish Moss, when mixed to body lotions, turns dry, rough, patchy skin into smooth, silky, hydrated, glowing skin . It moisturizes and treats even the most unmanageable skin problems, including eczema, psoriasis, rashes and sunburns.
Culinary Uses of Irish Moss
As a culinary article, fresh whole leaf Irish moss may be employed in the preparation of jellies, white soup, blac-mange etc.
Irish Moss can be combined with cocoa.
This weed is used in the form of a clarifying agent in the brewing process, specially if it is a homebrew. Its emulsifying effect, after carrageenan is extracted from it, is another viable quality of Irish moss and one of the major Irish moss benefits.
To use fresh, wash it well and add one cup of Irish Moss to three cups of milk or water and flavor to taste. Simmer slowly until most of the seaweed has dissolved. Remove any undissolved fragments and pour into a mould to set.
Irish Moss Jelly Recipe
3 pounds fresh Irish moss
1 cup sugar per cup of juice
Juice of half a lemon
Rinse moss in fresh water to remove all traces of salt. Chop fronds into small 1 to 2-inch pieces and place into a saucepan with 2 quarts of boiling water. Cook until water begins to thicken. Remove from heat, strain and measure juice. To each cup of juice add sugar as directed. Mix together in saucepan and add lemon juice. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Boil for 1 full minute, then pour into hot, sterile jars and seal.
Irish moss is contraindicated in patients with active peptic ulcer disease or in those with a history of peptic ulcer disease. Avoid using this herb in pregnant or breast feeding patients; effects are unknown.
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