Sea moss has recently grown in popularity in the health and wellness community due to its nutrients and proven benefits. While most people are aware of the health benefits of sea moss, they are not aware of where sea moss comes from.
The edible sea plant grows in tropical waters and is often associated with the Caribbean. But where does sea moss come from?
Origin of Sea Moss
It is primarily harvested from the shores of the rocky Atlantic coasts between Europe and North America. Sea moss typically grows in warmer waters around Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia.
Sea moss is also known as Irish sea moss or Jamaican purple moss. There has been evidence of people using the spiny sea plant for over 14,000 years.
The Chinese started using sea moss in 600 BC, and it has been recorded as a source of nutrition in the British Isles from around 400 BS.
Sea moss was also cultivated on the coasts of Ireland, where it got its name. Sea moss grew in popularity in the 1840s during the Irish Potato Famine.
There are different types of moss, which slightly differ based on the kind of waters they grow in and the area they are native to, among other factors.
What Are The Different Types Of Sea Moss, And Where Do They Come From?
Here is a look at the different types of sea moss and where they come from:
Jamaican Sea Moss
Also known as Irish sea moss, this type of sea moss is found on Jamaican coastlines. It is known to have 92 trace minerals that are vital for the body's functioning.
Jamaican sea moss is nutrient dense and is often made into a jelly or a therapeutic gel. It is also odourless, tasteless, and easy to use in many dishes. Jamaican and Irish sea moss is almost the same and has similar properties.
Also known as carrageen moss, this is the most common type of sea moss, and it grows along the Atlantic coastline, often in North America and Europe. It has a greenish-yellow colour, sometimes red, and can also be purple or brown.
Chondrus crispus has mucilaginous carrageenan as its primary component, making over half its weight. It also features 10% protein and 15% dry weight minerals, sulphur, and iodine.
This moss can also be boiled and grow more than 100 times its weight within the water.
Often referred to as the normal sea moss, Genus Gracillaria has a golden hue and is different from other types of moss that are usually reddish. Its golden colour is due to how close it is to the sun and tends to absorb more sunlight than other red seaweed.
This type of moss typically grows in the Caribbean, Java, and along the Atlantic Ocean.
This type is typically golden in colour but lighter than Gracillaria types. It can also appear green sometimes since it requires a little more sunlight to grow than other types of sea moss. It grows closer to the water surfaces and flows in open currents. It typically grows in the Caribbean, Java, and other shorelines of the Atlantic coasts.
Euchema Cottonnii is rarer when compared to other common types of sea moss.
Other Kinds of Sea Moss
Many other types of moss are available but are commonly known as algae. Nori or purple laver is a good example, typically found in Korea, Japan, and China. It is a thin, flat, red, or brownish colour found in high production next to oysters in Japan.
Another type of sea moss is Aonori, also known as green laver. It is a green seaweed popular in Japan and grows in deep waters. It is a flat leafy plant that is only one singular cell thick. It is 20% protein and contains many vitamins and other minerals.
Where Does Real Sea Moss Come From?
Real sea moss is also known as wildcrafted. This moss grows naturally in the sea and is often harvested when low tide.
Where Do Retailers Get Irish Sea Moss?
Retailers can source their dried sea moss from people who harvest the wild moss from the ocean, while others can source their moss from farms.
Sea moss cultivated on farms is also known as manufactured, and it is different in nutritional content and colour from the wild moss.
Why Do People Like Sea Moss?
While most people are now just discovering the health benefits of sea moss, it has been commercially harvested since it is a natural source of carrageenan used for commercial purposes as a thickening agent.
Sea moss is available as a gel and in powder form as well. The gel can be applied topically or orally to benefit both men and women. Some benefits include improved immunity, digestion, skin protection, replenished essential vitamins, and potential anti-aging properties.
Studies show it may also support a healthy gut and improve digestion.
Answering where sea moss comes from
Sea moss is most commonly ethically and sustainably sourced from the rocky coasts of North America and Europe along the Atlantic Ocean. Irish and Jamaican Purple sea moss is also found in the warmer parts of the water around the Caribbean. Sea Moss is found worldwide; however, many suppliers source from the Caribbean for the notable mineral content found within those species.