Exploring the Fascinating History of Sea Moss | From Sea Floor to Table Top

Exploring the Fascinating History of Sea Moss | From Sea Floor to Table Top
Have you ever peeked at the ingredients list of your favourite ice cream? If yes, you must have read carrageenan listed between the ingredients. The compound is derived from sea moss and has been used in everyday food for over fifty years.


Sea moss history is centuries old. From being used in Chinese medicine to the Irish potato famine, red algae has a rich history of cultivation and use. This rich superfood dates back to as old as 600 BC. 

But what’s the complete history of Irish moss? And where did it come from? All this and more below in this blog by Myla’s Moss

What is Sea Moss?

Sea Moss dates back to the mid 19th century and has been a top ingredient in the Chinese medicine. It is a type of seaweed that is used in a variety of health and skin care products due to its unique nutrient profile.

It contains vitamins like A, E, and K and is rich in polysaccharides and complex carbohydrates that are believed to have immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory effects. [1]


Origin of Sea moss

Sea Moss on Green Mountain and Lake Scenery

Sea moss history is very elaborate, considering that seaweed has existed for centuries. Although pinpointing its origin is difficult, it’s believed that sea moss was used in Chinese medicines for respiratory illness around 600 BC. 

But in the modern world, sea moss became popular due to Irish civilization. A potato famine hit Ireland during the mid-19th century, during which the Irish started cultivating sea moss, and it quickly gained popularity thanks to its health benefits.

Learn more about this in the next section!


History of Sea Moss

Although sea moss history dates back centuries, seaweed gained significant popularity in the 1800s.  

Taking you on a little journey of how this golden superfood was discovered.

A nearly ten-year period of starvation and disease plagued the Irish during the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s. The potato was the major source of nutrition for the Irish, but unfortunately, a devastating potato blight caused the worst crop failure in European history. 

Thus, in search of food sources similar to potatoes, sea moss was found to be a viable alternative. The Irish began harvesting and consuming it regularly to heal from the devastating effects of the famine that caused their health to cripple. In recognition of this discovery by the Irish, Sea Moss was named the “Irish moss.” 

During the World War II, Sea Moss surged in popularity when it was used as a source of nutrition as a thickening agent and emulsifier in meals. 

Its popularity soared during this time, but once the famine ended, sea moss became associated with being a “peasant food,” and its consumption declined. With time, people began to forget about it, and its popularity waned.

Years later, sea moss has once again taken the limelight due to its amazing nutritional value. 

Alfredo Bowman, famous as Dr. Sebi, was a self-proclaimed healer and herbalist. The popularity of sea moss increased after Dr. Sebi unveiled its wide range of benefits. 


Scientific and Common Name of Sea Moss

Girl Holding a Sea Moss Based Serum in Her Hand


With a better understanding of the origin and history of sea moss, let’s look at some of the other names it is recognised by. 

The scientific name of sea moss is Chondrus Crispus, which belongs to the family of red algae called Gigartinaceae. 

Besides, it is commonly known as Irish or carrageen moss, particularly in Ireland. Some alternative sea moss names are Gracilaria (Jamaican sea moss) and Eucheuma Cottonii (commonly called gusô.)


History of Different Types of Sea Moss 

Let's take a closer look at the history of the various types of sea moss and their properties: 

  • Chondrus Crispus 

This is the most common type of sea moss, found in North America and Europe’s Atlantic coastline. 

Its primary component is carrageenan, and that’s why it’s also called carrageen moss. Besides, it contains 15% dry-weight minerals like iodine and 10% proteins. 

  • Jamaican Sea Moss 

As its name indicates, it thrives along the Jamaican coastlines. Also called Irish Sea moss and contains 18 trace minerals that help strengthen the body’s functioning. 

It can be made into a gel or jelly because of its nutrient-rich composition.

  • Eucheuma cottonii 

Eucheuma cottonii requires more sunlight to grow and is less common than the other types of sea moss. It flows in open currents, and is found along the shorelines of the Atlantic coasts like Java & Caribbean. 

  • Genus Gracillaria 

This type of sea moss differs from others since it absorbs more sunlight and has a golden hue. It commonly thrives along the Atlantic Ocean. 

  • Other Types 

Known as algae, some other types of sea moss are also available. These include: 

  • Green laver: Grows in deep waters and is popular in Japan
  • Purple laver: Found in China, Japan, and Korea 

Looking for organically grown sea moss with 0% contamination? Check out Myla’s moss right now!



Sea moss history is rich and extensive. It continues to top the charts when it comes to being organic, natural, and a great source of healthy nutrients. The more you learn, the more you realize how people have used it for its medicinal and nutritional benefits over the centuries. 

Besides, here you can read more about sea moss health and skin benefits



Who is the founder of sea moss?

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who was the founder of sea moss as it has been consumed for centuries. But, it rapidly gained popularity in the 19th century when the Irish started cultivating it during a potato famine. They believed sea moss contained various health benefits, like fighting off colds and flu. 

What is real sea moss called?

Real sea moss is called Chondrus Crispus, a type of red algae that grows along the rocky coasts of the North Atlantic region. It’s commonly used in cuisine and applied to skin and hair.

Where did sea moss originate?

Sea moss is typically found between North America and Europe on the Atlantic coasts. However, it can also grow in regions with warmer waters, such as Asia, South America, and Africa. Additionally, it is harvested in certain parts of the Caribbean.

When did people start eating sea moss?

The history of this superfood is as old as 600 BC when it was used in Chinese medicines. Another fact stated that people in Britain had started consuming seaweed in 400BC

Is there science behind sea moss?

Sea moss contains 18 essential nutrients, including vitamins Bs, A, E, zinc, iodine, etc.[2] These provide impressive healing powers to the superfood. Taking sea moss is good for your reproductive health and immunity and boosts the working of most organs. 


[1] Mišurcová, L., Škrovánková, S., Samek, D., Ambrožová, J., & Machů, L. (2012). Health benefits of algal polysaccharides in human nutrition. Advances in food and nutrition research, 66, 75-145.

[2] Lomartire, S., Marques, J. C., & Gonçalves, A. M. (2021). An overview to the health benefits of seaweeds consumption. Marine Drugs, 19(6), 341.