Is Irish moss safe?
Are carrageenan and irish moss the same thing?
I have been getting many emails lately regarding the safety of irish moss. It is something you will need to decide for yourself and read both sides of the story. But my short answer is yes, I will continue using irish moss.
What is irish moss?
Irish moss is a type of seaweed that has been used for centuries for medicinal and healing properties. it has been used to treat bronchitis and coughs and known to be soothing to the throats and chests. In jamaica it was used to make a milk drink as a cure for male impotence and as an aphrodisiac.
What is corrageenan?
Corrageenan is an emulsifier and thickening agent that has been used in the commercial food industry for decades. Many processed foods do contain corrageenan such as milk, yoghurt, ice cream as well as a part of ingredients in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, pesticides and toothpastes. I’d always recommend making things from scratch because we will avoid these additives. I even saw corrageenan in organic almond milk as a stabiliser and to enhance the texture of these packaged products.
There is a raised concern over the safety of corrageenan, which is linked to a variety of gastrointestinal disorders including inflammatory bowel syndrome, intestinal ulcerations and tumour growth.
How is corrageenan made?
Corrageenan can be derived from irish moss. That is where the connection of irish moss and corrageenan came from. But high fructose corn syrup and corn are the same products? Well… i don’t think so. When we start messing with whole food it becomes something totally different.
During the processing the cellulose is removed from the seaweed and cooked in potassium hydroxide. Potassium hydroxide is a toxin that can have serious health effects if ingested. Even though hopefully the amounts of potassium hydroxide left in the final product is close to none you should be aware of this process.
Another important concern is that food grade corrageenan can be degraded in the digestive tract after consumption, either because of the acids in the stomach or by the gut bacteria. When corrageenan is degraded it becomes poligeenan. Poligeenan is another compound that raises concern, in fact it can be more harmful than corrageenan. they can produce more severe ulceration and inflammation even at lower concentrations
As I said before I’d encourage you to do your own research if you are concerned about corrageenan present in irish moss. If you do decide that irish moss can be part of your diet it will certainly broad your raw food creations. It can create spongeness in bread, fluffiness in mousse, lightens cakes. it can even be used as face masks!
You can get our irish moss, used in raw food recipes, here