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Sea Moss vs Irish Moss; is there a difference? This guide takes a deeper look into the two main different types of sea moss and which one is beneficial to have in your curvy vegan diet!
⏱Reading Time: 14 minutes
Well, I never thought I would see the day that sea moss become a trend but here we are! When I published my article How to Make Sea Moss Gel, I was simply sharing another recipe that I have been using for years.
Because of the enormous amount of questions I get on a daily basis from that article alone, I feel it's important to share as much information as I possibly can.
Since I don't sell sea moss, my opinions are not bias. Nor do I claim to be some type of "Sea Moss Expert." I'm simply trying to educate you so that you are fully informed to make the best choice!
This article is long, so feel free to use the Table of Contents to jump to the section you want to look at. After each section, I added a "Back to Table of Contents" to make it easier for you to navigate.
What are the 2 Main Different Types of Sea Moss
Sea moss is an umbrella term used to describe different spices of seaweed (some say it's an algae). So it's not really a moss per se but that is the term it commonly goes by.
There are more than 2 types of sea mosses; literally thousands of species in the ocean. However, there are two main ones that are currently popular today; Genus Gracilaria and Chondrus Crispus. Since those are the ones that are on the market, those are the ones I will focus on. As always if that changes this article will be updated.
Kappaphycus alvarezii (aka Eucheuma Cottoni) is another one that is said to be popularly sold on the market today. Since it looks very similar to Genus Gracilaria (and prepared the same way) and I won't be focusing on it. You can see how it looks in this photo here.
In my Sea Moss Gel Article, I briefly touched on these two species but let us go into deeper analysis here.
Genus Gracilaria (Sea Moss)
Incorrect Botanical Name
So this is the most commonly recognized version of sea moss. However it often innocently mistaken as "Irish Moss" when in fact it doesn't grow near Ireland.
I say innocently mistaken because it is not my belief that companies are purposely calling it Irish Moss to be deceptive. In my opinion, it truly is just a small technical error and miseducation of the botanical name for each species. I know of really reputable companies that call it Irish Moss when indeed it's Genus Gracilaria, but again it's just an honest mistake.
The reason for the confusion is people in the warmer climates call the sea moss that grows there "Irish Moss."
Dr. Sebi video on Sea Moss (Genus Gracilara)
Check out this video below where he uses the name "Chondrus Crispus" but holds up a piece of Genus.
- At the 40 second mark, he said "Sea Moss is known scientifically, there we go again, Chondrus Crispus. Am I right?
- At the 4:02 mark, he holds up (and is describing) a dried stringy thin like seaweed. He is holding up Genus Gracilaria sea moss, not Chondrus Crispus.
So you see, these are both sea mosses but different species. This is why there is so much confusion and why people are misnaming this species as Chondrus Crispus or Irish Moss. It's an innocent mistake as I stated earlier, there are literally THOUSANDS of sea moss species and its very easy to misname.
Where does Genus Gracilaria grow?
Genus Gracilaria grows in warmer waters most popular Jamaica and St. Lucia (it's not exclusive to these areas but these are the areas you often hear this species being sold from).
In the video above you (jump to video), at the 4:35 mark, he said: "my brother owns boats and travel to the Caribbean, all the way to Colombia, Venezuela and he always sees Sea Moss on to of the ocean look like gold." He's describing what he was holding up which was a strain of Genus Gracilaria.
How does it grow?
Genus Gracilaria can grow on both rocks and ropes. It's typically grown on ropes if ocean or pool farmed (more on that later).
What does Genus Gracilaria look like?
Genus Gracilaria has a fingered relatively thin string like look to it. The color is typically a yellow golden color however this can vary. Below is a photo I took of my personal stash of Jamaican Sea Moss. As you can see, you can have a variety of red color strands in one bag. That's very normal as nature itself tends to vary. I have even seen some sea moss that is blue and purple.
Purple sea moss is another popular variety of sea moss you often see. It's called "Jamaican Purple Sea Moss" and again is often misinterpreted as Irish Moss. Remember Irish Moss is the Chondrus Crispus species and not Genus Gracilaria regardless of the color.
Just because Genus Graciliara comes in the color purple doesn't make it Chondrus Crispus (Irish Moss). Both Genus Gracilaria and Chondrus Crispus can come in varying colors.
Advantage(s) of Genus Gracilaria Sea Moss
The major advantage of using this species of sea moss besides its high nutrient content (Read Sea Moss Nutritional Benefits), is that it grows all year round. This means it's more readily available. Because of this, the cost of the purchase is not expensive.
Since it's now trending (and will be soon thrown in the "superfood" category) now, there are some (not all) companies taking advantage of this and jacking up the prices which are heartbreaking to see. Genus Gracilaria shouldn't cost any more than around $30 bucks for ¼ pound on average (give or take). I have seen some companies sell raw sea moss for $30 for just 2 ounces! Insane!
But to be fair looking at it from the other side, that could be due to the overwhelming demand which could be putting a strain on inventory. So in that sense, I do understand the need to raise prices. Hopefully, when the hype dies down there, there can be some type of middle ground that works for both business and consumer.
As I repeat in all these articles, do your due diligence and use your best judgment. I listed places at the bottom of this section, where I have personally purchased it from which are the photos you see in this article. For me, they have both quality and reasonably priced Genus Gracilaria in this section.
Disadvantage(s) of Genus Gracilaria Sea Moss
Because it's so easily accessible, some companies are selling what is commonly referred to as Farmed Pool Grown Sea Moss. Pool Grown sea moss isn't ideal because it's rushed to grow much like inorganically grown produce.
In the video above, at the 3:12 mark (jump to video), Dr. Sebi said: "Sea moss doesn't grow where the sea stands still, it has to be in motion, and sea moss grows."
So you won't get the same nutrients and benefits because it's not being grown with the rhythm of the sea. Also, you are subject to ingesting whatever a company decides to add to the pool to speed up production which can deplete the nutrients (much like unsustainable farming does with the soil on land to grow to produce).
Pool Farmed vs Ocean Farmed
Now just because something is farm-raised DOES NOT make it harmful or devoid of nutrients. Pool Farmed sea moss is different than Ocean Farmed Sea Moss.
Pool Grown Sea Moss grows on ropes in unnatural waters and will be devoid of nutrients. Ocean-Farmed Sea Moss grows on ropes as well, however, it grows in the natural sea and isn't tampered with until time of harvest. It can still retain a lot of nutrients. (Not as much as wildcrafted but way more than pool grown sea moss).
We eat farm-raised vegetables all the time. Even in the Dr. Sebi community where there is a distinction between "hybrid produce and nonhybrid produce" it's still farmed produce. If you grow your own food (gardening), it's no longer "wild" as there was human intervention.
Understand that farming becomes necessary because of the increasing demand for a product (when it becomes commercialized) This can help prevent depleting natural resources from the sea which disrupts the ecosystem. Yes, wild plants will ALWAYS be superior; same as wildcrafted sea moss, it is superior. But if grown in clean waters, it can still retain A LOT of nutrients.
It is very likely that some of Genus Gracilaria labeled "Wild Crafted" is really farm-raised but done so sustainably and ethically in clean natural ocean water; NOT POOLS. In my opinion, that makes it a decent option.
However as I always say, DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE and decide for yourself which is best for you. I'm not saying you should or should not buy pool grown, ocean-farmed, or wildcrafted sea moss. I'm simply giving you information. You decide what to do with it.
Where to buy Highly Quality Genus Gracilaria Sea Moss
This is not a complete list. Just because I don't list a company doesn't mean they are not high quality. These are just the ones I have personally tried so far that I find reasonably priced and of high quality.
NONE OF THESE COMPANIES sponsor Vegan With Curves. I have spent my own money and time trying different companies and these are the ones I like so far. The list is subject to change if indeed I find ill practices and/or I test more companies.
- Goddess Nectars (Darryl Ruffin trusted friend sales 16- 84-ounce jars of sea moss gel and other sea moss products; the wildcrafted Genus Gracilaria variety. He also sales whole Genus Gracilara species)
- Vital Vegan (wildcrafted Jamaican Sea Moss Genus Gracilaria species)
- Akeem Pierre (wildcrafted St. Lucia Sea Moss Genus Gracilaria species)
- Sea Moss Collection (Monique sells the Kappaphycus Alvarezii aka old school name is Euchema Cottoni and it has a awesome creamy white texture when transferred into a gel. It also has more carrageen than Gracilaria so it yields a thicker gel!)
Because the demand is so high it is possible for these companies to be sold out. I urge you to practice self-discipline and to NOT over-consume. Just buy what you need and give everyone a chance to enjoy the benefits. Sea moss is potent so there is no need to over-consume if you are living an overall healthy lifestyle.
Chondrus Crispus (Irish Moss)
The REAL Irish Moss
This what I like to call, "the Royles Royce of Sea Moss." lol Please don't take that literal. I only call it this because this is the sea moss that Dr. Sebi is referring to when he mentions the "scientific backing; Chondrus Crispus aka Irish Moss or Irish Sea Moss.
Here are few studies I found on Chondrus Crispus:
Dr. Sebi Video on Sea Moss (Chondrus Crispus)
Check out this video below where again he talks about the scientific name of “Chondrus Crispus.”
- At the 1:07 second mark, he said: “Sea Moss scientifically, is known as Chondrus Crispus." He goes on to name all the benefits it has.
Why is it called Irish Moss?
It's called Irish Moss for the following reasons mainly because it was one of the seaweeds consumed during the Irish Potato Famine in the 1800s. (Read Eat Your Seaweed from the Irish Times). Also, it grows on the coast of Ireland.
Isn't it amazing that a food that was once only consumed because of famine and considered "survival food" is now seen as a superfood powerhouse? Amazing huh.
Goes to show you that nature (not supermarkets) has the best food abundant for us even if we have no currency. We just have to know what we are looking at. Okay enough with my "Ted Talk", let's continue.
Where does Chondrus Crispus Grow?
As mentioned above it grows around the coast of Ireland but also Great Britain, Maine, Canada, and other places where there are cooler waters.
How does it grow?
From my current knowledge, Irish Moss only grows on rocks. It can't grow on ropes which is why it's not often farmed and why supply can be limited.
In the video above, in the Genus Gracilara section, at mark 0:45 (jump to video), Dr. said: "It locks onto a rock, onto a rock, and from that rock, it receives its nutrients.
Both species grow on rocks however Genus Gracilara can grow on ropes too. Chondrus Crispus ONLY grows on rocks (from my current knowledge).
What does Chondrus Crispus look like?
Chondrus Crispus has flat fan-like wide shape tops that look like leaves or flowers to me at least. The color is typically dark purple however this can vary. Below is a photo I took of my personal stash of Irish Sea Moss.
As you can see, you can have a variety of light purple and even green color "leafs" in one bag. Again nature varies. Here on Marine Species, you can see a snapshot of the variety of the different colors of Chondrus Crispus.
This is worth repeating. What is sold as Jamaican Purple Sea moss is not Chondrus Crispus. (It's just Purple Genus Gracilara). People mistake that because typically Chondrus is purple. But in viewing the snapshot in the link I provided above, you can see it can vary of color.
Remember color DOES NOT denote a species. Biological make up does. The form of Irish Moss in the photo I took above is Irish Moss whether it's golden yellow, purple, or green.
Advantage(s) of Chondrus Crispus Sea Moss
Irish Moss has it's advantages in rarity (ironically the opposite advantage of Genus Gracilara). Because it's not available all year round (only harvested during the Summertime) and only grows on rocks, (Genus Gracilara can be grown on ropes), it isn't really duplicated. So as of today, there is really not to much worry about getting "fake " or "pool grown" Chondrus Crispus.
Disadvantage(s) of Chondrus Crispus Sea Moss
Because it's rare, it's hard to acquire and limits on how much you can get. People usually get just get enough during harvest season and use it all year long until next season. (It's potent stuff so you don't need a lot anyway).
Because of its rarity, it's much more expensive. A half a pound can cost you up to $50 easy. But again that's A LOT of Chondrus Crispus and that much alone should last you for at least 6 months if not more. (Assuming you are NOT over-consuming it.)
Also, Irish Moss has a stronger smell than Genus Gracilaria. Genus smells too but is mild in comparison to Irish Moss which might turn some people off.
92 Minerals out of 102 Minerals the Body Needs?
Everyone states that Chondrus Crispus has "92 minerals out of the 102 minerals the body needs." Yes, this seaweed has a lot of vitamins and minerals, but does it have exactly 92? And is the body made up of 102 minerals?
Related: Sea Moss Nutritional Benefits
I found this 102 Mineral Photo on Pinterest and it made me ask myself this question:
- Do I want all those minerals in my body?
From my understanding the body only needs 16 to 22 minerals give or take. They call these Essential Minerals.
Now I could be wrong as I'm always open to knowledge, but it's also important to question stuff vs regurgitating something. Just because it is repeated a dozen hundred times does not make it true.
I realize that on a metaphysical level, one could argue that everything that exists outside of us exists within us and I do agree with that statement. However, on a physical level, I'm not sure if I want to ingest anything that has heavy mineral metals like Mercury, Aluminum, and Flouride. These are all things in the health community we are told to lessen in our bodies and to stay away from.
So yes, Irish Moss has A LOT of minerals and maybe they contain all the ESSENTIAL MINERALS the body needs (same goes for Genus Gracilara). But I would have to do more research before I make the claim that it has "92 minerals out of the 102 minerals the body needs."
I'm not saying that statement isn't true. I'm simply just asking questions as any thinking human being should do. So you already know what I'm about to say right? Due Diligence and all that jazz. Make sure YOU DO IT! lol
Where to buy Highly Quality Chondrus Crispus
Not many places have this type as it's very expensive to harvest and it's limited to how much you can get (the whole leaf is not available all year round). But below are the companies I have used to obtain it and when available. I buy only ONE ORDER and then I'm pretty much done for the rest of the year.
AGAIN, NONE OF THESE COMPANIES sponsor Vegan With Curves. I have spent my own money (with the exception of one company who sent me a free sample of their product) and time trying different companies and these are the ones I like so far. The list is subject to change if indeed I find ill practices and/or I test more companies.
- Mike Sean of Alka-holics (this is my main! The ultimate PLUG for Chondrus Crispus! All the pictures you see in this article are from his product. He only takes order via Facebook Messenger or email as supplies are limited (in pounds) and he prefers to do business with people who are serious. He also sells gels already made ONLY in Chondrus Crispus format)
- Atlantic Holdfast Seaweed Company (they have the Chondrus Crispus variety but they sell out REALLY fast. Send them an email to be notified when they are back in stock)
- Alkaline Jungle (I have ordered from here too and the quality is good! He sells they have Chondrus Crispus variety when in stock (in ounces not pounds) and also sells it in gel format. You can order straight from the website until stock runs out.)
- Gulf of Maine, Inc (I was contacted by the lovely owner Timothy F. Sheehan and sent a sample of his Chondrus Cripus along with bladderwrack and hard to find dulse seaweed! It was very potent! I decided to add it to my list because it's good quality and another option to obtain this species! Along with other seaweeds!)
What About Sea Moss Capsules, Flakes, and Powders?
Whew, that was a lot. Hang on here we are almost done! I want to touch on pills flakes and powders because you see a lot of it in the market.
Generally speaking, I tend to say stay away from those things because these products are usually cooked to death in an oven, killing the nutritional benefit. However, the exception to this would be:
- If the company naturally dehydrates it and use that dehydrated version to create their pills, capsules, and/or flakes.
When you get sea moss, you're not getting it in its hydrated form. You are getting it dehydrated (typically sun dehydrated which is natural.)
So if the powders, powdered capsules, or flakes come from sun hydrated (or a dehydrator that mimics the sun not heating anything over 118 degrees F), I see no problem in consuming it that way.
Sea Moss and Curve Building
When building curves, you need to lift weights and while macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fats are crucial, so are micronutrients like minerals and vitamins.
In the video above, in the Chondrus Crispus section, at mark 0:45 (jump to video), Dr. said: "It's supposed to have, potassium iodide, potassium phosphate, a large percentage of calcium and magnesium."
Potassium is an electrolyte found in the cells of your muscle and the right amount of potassium can help reduce muscle cramps. Both Calcium and Magnesium work to help keep your bones in good shape which is needed for proper joint health. (You can't lift weights without healthy joints).
So yes curvy vegans you can benefit from using sea moss too!
Which one should I Buy? Chondrus or Genus?
I feel whichever one you have access to will be great to consume. I personally consume both, more so the Genus Gracilaria simply because it's most readily available.
The most important thing is to try it and see how it makes YOU FEEL. No ONE (including me), no matter how many studies done, can tell you how something benefited you. Only you can know what works for you.
Overall I hope this article gave you a better understanding of the different types of sea moss. If you have any questions and concerns, feel free to leave them in the comment section.
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