Irish Moss

Botanical Name: Chondrus crispus Family: Gigartinaceae

Common name(s): Irish Moss, Carrageenan


  • Perennial; seaweed | Grows along the European and North American Atlantic coast | dark purple to yellowish-brown in color
  • Grows just below the water to depths of 75 feet. Attaches to rocks.


Harvest in the summer (in North America) with a rake and let dry in the sun.


Decoction: Soak 1/2 ounce of the dried herb in water for 15 minutes to re-hydrate. Boil in 3 pints of water (you can also use milk) for 10-15 minutes. Strain, add honey and spices (or cocoa) and drink as needed.

Cautions: Those on blood thinners (because of its blood-thinning poperties) or thyroid medicine (because of its iodine content) should avoid Irish Moss


Constituents: Amino acids, bromine and manganese salts, iodine, mucins, polysaccharides, proteins

Actions: Demulcent, emollient,expectorant, nutrient

Uses: Coughs, lung diseases associated with dryness, pneumonia, tuberculosis, sores, urinary inflammation, ulcers and other digestive issues

CHINESE MEDICINE: Sweet, salty, cool


I have seen this ALL my life at the beach. Never knew it was called Irish Moss! One of my sources said it is harvested along the Massachusetts coast (as well as Ireland). I can see why. There’s a LOT of it here! I may just try gathering some this year.

One last note. When I saw that Carrageenan was a common name for this seaweed, a red flag went up. I’d heard that Carrageenan is bad for you. As I went poking around, it seems to all come back to the fact that eating something in its whole form is not bad for you, extracting parts of it chemically (and then eating that) is bad for you. I do agree with that. Whole plants are balanced. We can’t naturally extract just a component of them. Here’s a supporting article… (However, do see the cautions I listed in the Preparation/Dosage section.)