June 07, 2021 4 min read
Sea moss has seen a surge in popularity over the past few years and it seems like every health fanatic has incorporated it into their daily routine whether in a morning smoothie or as a thickening agent for soups and stews. This superfood was catapulted into the spotlight thanks to endorsements from celebrities like Kim Kardashian and popular herbalist Dr. Sebi. If you’ve been on the internet in the past couple of years, then chances are you’ve heard about the miracle healing powers of sea moss. But what exactly is sea moss? And what are the benefits of incorporating it into your diet? Don’t worry, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about sea moss and we’re ready to share the knowledge!
Is there a “real” and “fake” sea moss? The answer to this is fairly simple. There are actually 3 different recognized species of sea moss – Chondrus Crispus known as “Irish Sea Moss” and Golden Gracilaria & Eucheuma Cottonii known as “Sea Moss”. Many people become confused when they see the golden Sea Moss strains as compared to the red/purple Chondrus Crispus variety. This strain is commonly considered the “real” sea moss because it is the most widely known, but this is just simply not true. The Golden Gracilaria & Eucheuma Cottonii strains of sea moss share most if not all of the same benefits. We primarily use the Eucheuma Cottonii strain as it has been used as a healing agent in many communities for centuries.
While natural populations of Eucheuma Cottonii sea moss tend to have color variants with pigmentations such as yellow, green, red, and brown, Chondrus Crispus is always purple making them easy to distinguish. The reason for this difference in color has nothing to do with the health benefits of either strain, it is strictly attributed to the conditions in which they grow. The Chondrus Crispus variety has a red/purple appearance because it grows in deeper, colder water with limited access to sunlight. As a sea plant, these species go through photosynthesis and rely on chlorophyll and phycobiliproteins for pigment. Since light is limited, photosynthesis becomes very slow and phycobiliproteins make the process easier by absorbing the available light and passing it onto the chlorophyll. This protein is what gives Chondrus crispus it's signature red/purple coloring.
Eucheuma Cottonii is a common food source for people in the Philippines and parts of Indonesia and Malaysia. Although this strain can be found in the Caribbean, it is mainly cultivated in the Philippines and since the 1970s it has been a major source of expansion for the carrageenan (an ingredient in food manufacturing) industry. Eucheuma Cottonii is commonly found within 20 degrees on either side of the equator in the Indo-Pacific region from eastern Africa to Guam, mostly concentrated in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. These sea plants are usually found below the low tide, growing on the sand to rocky seafloor areas along a coral reef where water movement is slow. They tend to grow at a pace similar to terrestrial plant species, but Eucheuma Cottonii has a growing tip that is capable of dividing and forming new branches.
Alfredo Bowman also known as Dr. Sebi has perhaps been one of the most popular enthusiasts of the nutritional and healing properties of sea moss. Despite his passing in 2016 the company he founded, and his teachings live on today. Although he popularized the use of sea moss, he certainly was not the first to discover its properties. Sea moss has been popular since at the least the 1800s when it was used in medicinal practices. Below are some of the widely known benefits of sea moss:
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