Kratom: A Comprehensive Guide of What it is, How to Use, and Where to Buy

Kratom may be trending now, but it’s actually been in use in the Southeast Asia countries of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and Thailand for hundreds of years. Today Kratom can be found for sale online, and if you buy it in the right place you can get products that are both naturally grown and lab-tested.

However, it’s not that easy to source reliable information about Kratom. This is due in part to its complex legal status here in the US, so we are working to provide detailed information about Kratom itself and reputable online providers.

What is Kratom

Kratom is a natural herbal product made from leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree—a member of the coffee family. Grown primarily in Indonesia, the Kratom tree’s leaves are sometimes harvested and chewed, but more often they are sold and then used as a Kratom tea, Kratom extract, Kratom capsules, or Kratom powder.

Image of where to buy Kratom capsules

All the Kratom sold in the United States comes from Indonesia—mostly collected in Borneo’s rural villages. Local people harvest the leaves from trees on privately owned land or wild Kratom trees and sell them at market.

Tropical regions are home to the right conditions for wild Kratom tree growth. Under friendly condition, these trees can sometimes grow to heights of 80 feet or taller.

People consume Kratom and Kratom products for many reasons. However, it’s important to understand that Kratom leaves contain two unique compounds:

  • Mitragynine
  • 7-hydroxymitragynine

These are both naturally-occurring, active alkaloids that Kratom leaves contain in varying amounts. Research into these compounds is limited. However, research from experimental animal models supports the idea that these compounds have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anorectic, and muscle relaxant effects.

What are Kratom Strains?

If you search for Kratom or Kratom products online, you’ll almost certainly find some discussion of young trees versus mature trees and the compounds in leaves harvested from both. The idea is generally that mature trees may deliver higher levels of alkaloids.

However, the research doesn’t yet prove this, and the industry itself is as yet not well-regulated enough to support this type of scrutiny. Quality controls for harvesting and sorting Kratom leaves are poor in Indonesia, so higher scrutiny on the part of American Kratom vendors is critical.

The notion of distinct genetic “strains” of Kratom is defeated by the fact that the industry itself lacks quality controls on the cultivation and harvest side. In other words, if it’s not totally certain what is being cultivated in the first place, there’s really no way to discern what the harvest is, or how one variety of Kratom for sale differs at the chemical level from other variants of the same plant.

Image of fresh Kratom leaves for the Kratom Buying Guide.

Most strain names you find online are entirely arbitrary, marketing devices created by vendors. For example, the Red Thai Kratom strain does not originate in Thailand, and Borneo Kratom is probably not from Borneo. And while Bali Kratom is probably in fact from Indonesia, it does not necessarily come from that actual region of the country, and the same is true of Sumatra Kratom.

And while misinformed or even unethical sellers might make claims about effects Kratom “strains” have, there is no evidence for this. For example, the idea that you take White Borneo for energy in the morning but Red Borneo to sleep at night is a marketing tool. If you order based on these ideas from a seller who promotes them, you might be getting multiple helpings of the same batch of Kratom.

What are Kratom Vein Colors?

If Kratom strains aren’t real, are vein colors also a fallacy? You’ve noted that Kratom is typically categorized into four vein colors:

  • Green Vein Kratom
  • Red Vein Kratom
  • White Vein Kratom
  • Yellow Vein Kratom

Green, red, and white vein are the most common vein colors, although the newer yellow vein color is a recent addition—probably not the last we will see.

Despite what many sellers claim, these vein colors do not actually correspond with the vein color in Kratom leaves, the best Kratom to use at a certain time or day, or anything else. In fact, at times you will find leaves with different vein colors on the same tree. Most suppliers don’t bother sorting by color, because there appears to be no appreciable difference.

It is drying and sun exposure that changes the color of the final product. Try it with your own to see—different strains are often just the same batch cured longer.

However, Kratom is often graded by color. The darkest is usually sold as “red,” and although you might guess the lightest would be “white,” that’s usually sold as “green,” with the in-between colors sold as “white.”

Differences in how users feel about products probably comes from chemical differences between batches. As a naturally cultivated and harvested product, there will be differences from batch to batch.

The alkaloid content can vary significantly batch to batch, and the level of mitragynine in unadulterated Kratom leaf can range from 0.5% to 1.5%. That means a two gram serving size of Kratom may contain 10 milligrams of mitragynine or 30 milligrams, depending on which batch it came from.

Many new Kratom users say that they are not feeling how they expected after taking their Kratom. Their first thought is to try new strains of Kratom, but the best advice is to start by reducing the serving size. When it comes to Kratom, less really is more.

Choosing a Kratom Vendor

Looking to buy Kratom? Be careful, because it’s the wild west out there. There are so many bad actors selling kratom that we only feel comfortable recommending a certain high-quality, transparent vendor—and here’s why.

Not all Kratom sellers are conscientious about separating batches, and as we mentioned, your order for multiple “strains” may be bringing you many versions of the exact same product labeled in several different ways. Vendors carrying too many strains can be showing you a red flag, actually. It presents a huge set of operational challenges for any seller to acquire and maintain more inventory while following quality control and good manufacturing practices (GMP).

Failing to do so, however, can mean adulterated products that can even make people sick. That is why it is so important to buy Kratom from a reputable vendor who does the following:

  • Shares their open lab testing policies and procedures with the public
  • Follows the FDA’s good manufacturing practices (GMP)
  • Registers through the American Kratom Association as a GMP Qualified Vendor

American Kratom Association GMP-compliant vendors are the most reputable, because the program itself is devoted to consumer safety and designed to ensure a safe pathway to market for Kratom. It takes time and effort to comply with GMP standards, and companies that do care about consumer safety and the time to guarantee that their products are fit for human consumption.

Super Speciosa is an American Kratom Association GMP Qualified brand that has been verified to meet strict GMP quality standards by a third-party auditor. Super Speciosa sells several varieties of Kratom, each from a distinct batch, typically graded by color.

The signature Super Speciosa Kratom product is the Kratom powder. This is a high-demand products because it tests highest for mitragynine, regardless of color. Green varieties are the lightest, with white typically in between and red the darkest—although as natural products there is considerable natural color variation here.

Find Red Maeng Da Kratom products, Green Maeng Da Kratom products, White Maeng Da Kratom Products, Red Bali Kratom, and the Super Speciosa Kratom line. Find real customer reviews with star ratings and detailed information about Kratom at the Super Speciosa site.

How to Use Kratom Powder

kratom leaf and kratom powder

There is more than one way to make use of Kratom:

As Kratom Tea

Like many other plants and herbs, Kratom can be made into tea. This is a popular a traditional way to take Kratom, and there is no need to have the actual leaf, just the powder. Merely brew a tea you enjoy—preferably one with a distinct taste of its own—and add your serving of Kratom like you might use a matcha powder.

Juice, Smoothie, or Protein Shake

Many people enjoy Kratom powder more in a glass of fruit juice, as it masks the taste somewhat more. For similar reasons, more active users might try Kratom in a smoothie or protein shake.

Kratom Capsule

Kratom powder is easy and convenient to serve in capsules.

Where to Buy Kratom Online

After an exhaustive research campaign, we recommend SuperSpeciosa.com as the best place to buy Kratom, because they are transparent and passionate about the product. They make their Kratom powder and other products from the highest quality plant material, and their products are third-party tested–you can verify this on their site. They stand behind their products.

If you’re ready to give Kratom a try, this is an online source you can trust.

Irish Sea Moss: The Benefits, Uses and Products to Try

For millennia humans have prized seaweed as a nutritional food. In fact, sea moss or Irish moss was a superfood before anyone knew what that was. Today, its popularity—and notoriety—has resurged, but why? Can sea moss be a beneficial part of your wellness regimen, and if so, why? Is Irish moss good for you as everyone says?

Even the most ancient superfoods get their trendy moments. For sea moss, it came when Kim Kardashian and a sea moss smoothie graced Instagram.

You can definitely get your Irish moss on via smoothie, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll find sea moss is in facial masks and body lotions, prized for its soothing qualities. You’ll also see it in whole dried form and in capsules and powders, slightly yellowy-green, usually.

Sea moss fans claim that using the plant can boost immunity, calm digestion, improve skin health, soothe respiratory illnesses, and strengthen joints. But could Irish moss really live up to the hype?

In this complete guide to sea moss, we’ll tell you everything you should know about this trendy superfood including how to use Irish moss yourself.

What Is Sea Moss?

Sea moss is an edible North Atlantic seaweed. The edible portions come from the dried thallus of a species called Chondrus crispus found on the rocky Atlantic coasts of the British Isles, the EU, and North America.

Also called carrageen from the Irish “carraigín” for “little rock”, this variety of red algae yields a mucilaginous substance. In fact, this is one of the reasons it is so widely used today.

Many laypeople have used Irish moss to enhance their skin and boost their health, although there is no significant science supporting its benefits. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist, however. One reason the science isn’t there may well be that it just hasn’t been done.

Experts do conclude that various cultures have used sea moss as folk medicine for generations—and that as a plant it has some inherent medicinal advantages. In some places, principally the British Isles and the Caribbean, people still use sea moss to fight off colds and respiratory illnesses by boosting their immune systems.

Today, most don’t just eat Irish moss straight. Instead, they use it to create a gel by boiling the dried or raw sea moss in water—as a thickening agent, the result is a sticky gel. Often in the Caribbean, people also serve Irish moss boiled like tea and mixed with sweetened milk, cold. Of course most modern users consume Irish moss in pill or powdered form.

The Health Benefits of Sea Moss

Okay, let’s break down the health benefits of sea moss in more detail.

Thyroid Support

Tri-iodothyronine (T3) is a thyroid hormone that occurs naturally in the body. It eventually breaks down into DI-Iodothyronine (DIT), which occurs in brown sea moss in abundance and which doctors use to treat thyroid disorders. Thyroxin (T4), another thyroid hormone, and T3 are the primary iodine compounds in a few seaweeds—including sea moss. For these reasons, Irish moss treats thyroid disorders effectively.

In addition, iodine fuels thyroid hormone production and is highly concentrated in Irish moss. Sea moss is also rich in selenium, another important metabolic factor.

A healthy thyroid function helps improve mood, digestion, and more. It’s not that surprising that iodine-rich Irish moss is so prized for boosting energy levels based on thyroid alone, but that’s not all it does. Sea moss also contains folate (B9) and riboflavin (B2). Both contribute to energy levels overall as they assist the body in forming red blood cells and genetic material, and breaking down carbs, fats, and proteins.

Emotional/Mental Health

Rich in potassium, sea moss helps the cells of the body function optimally. Adding sea moss and other high-potassium foods into your diet can notably improve mental functioning, particularly for people suffering from ADHD.

High potassium foods are also useful for treating hyperactivity, anxiety disorders, depression, fibromyalgia, and mood swings. Irish moss can also reduce stress and support the nervous system because it is an excellent source of B vitamins.

Sea moss also has a neuroprotective effect against Parkinson’s disease and neurodegeneration, protecting the brain from accumulating too much α-synulein protein. In addition, sea moss contains the phytonutrient algin, which can help our existing detoxifying tissues remove heavy metals from our bodies.

Digestive Health

Like aloe, chia seeds, and okra, sea moss is a mucilaginous food. Yes—that means it has a slimy consistency, but that also means it can serve as a healing and soothing agent for mucous membranes anywhere in the body. That includes the membranes in the internal digestive tract.

As a prebiotic, Irish moss increases the colon’s production of helpful short-chain fatty acids, improves overall gut immunity and health, and reduces detrimental gut bacteria specifically.

Immune Support

Sea moss may help prevent or relieve symptoms of flu or colds. It does two things naturally that you’d hope a cough syrup, cold medicine, expectorant, and antibiotic combination might do: fight congestion and phlegm, and boost immunity to infections.

Irish moss is rich in the nutrient potassium chloride, which helps to eliminate catarrhs—phlegm and inflammation in the mucous membranes. By reducing these sources of congestion and acting as a natural antiviral and antimicrobial agent, sea moss may help to battle infections and respiratory illnesses.

For all of these reasons, something with a shot of sea moss such as a smoothie might become your go-to during cold and flu season and when infectious diseases are raging. This kind of Irish moss supplement or treat loads you up with potassium iodide, to help your body open airways and dissolve phlegm. It is also rich in antioxidants, amino acids, vitamin C, and other antimicrobial and antiviral agents that can help you ward off respiratory illnesses:

  • Bronchitis
  • Chest coughs
  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Mucous
  • Pneumonia
  • Sore throat
  • Tuberculosis
  • Other respiratory illnesses

Sea Moss May Nourish Your Skin

Sea moss, once transformed into sea moss gel, is basically a natural gelatin-like substance filled with minerals and vitamins useful in treating burns, dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. It also contains citrulline–arginine, a compound that can improve metabolism and cell growth.

Irish moss can also support softer skin and hair by aiding the body in producing collagen. It does this because citrulline–arginine releases amino acids critical to synthesizing collagen and protein.

Best Sea Moss Products to Try

Part of the issue is what kind of sea moss you prefer. Here we’ve listed a few kinds you can use to either consume orally or mix into topical preparations like sea moss masks. We also included a few recipes below.

Karibbean Flavours Premium Irish Sea Moss Superfood

For the purists out there, this is about as close as you can get to harvesting sea moss yourself if you’re not in the right place. It’s dried and lightly salted, and it is very close to its natural form. You can boil this in water to create a gel that is mostly tasteless. Use the gel in pudding, shakes, smoothies, or whatever you like as a thickener.

Pros

  • Crafted in a marine protected area, on a non-GMO sea far
  • Prepared in a USDA certified facility
  • Vegan, gluten-free, and raw
  • Contains Potassium, Calcium, Iodine and Natural Vitamins A, B, D, E & K
  • No fishy sea smell

Cons

  • Can take up to 24 hours to fully dissolve
  • When mixed with water, it doesn’t break down as well as other sea moss products
  • May create a more gummy, than gel-like texture.

Starwest Botanicals Organic Irish Moss Powder, 1 Pound

If you really don’t want to deal with all of that process before you get started, skip it. This is still an organic sea moss but in powder form. Scoop it right into your blender, or cream, or whatever you’re making, it doesn’t get too much easier while staying versatile.

Pros

  • Formulated in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program Guidelines
  • A certified Kosher product
  • cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) Compliant
  • Comes in an easy-to-mix powder

Cons

  • May clump when blended with hot water
  • Has a strong odor that may be off-putting to some users

Organic Earth Body Cell Food Irish Sea Moss Bladderwrack Burdock Root Powder Wildcrafted Alkaline Supplement

If you love everything we just said about the powdered option but you want to add the popular bladderwrack advantage to your lineup, this is your product. It combines 92 of the nutrients and minerals that the body needs as well as Burdock Root which adds another 10 percent of minerals to make it a complete body supplement of 102 minerals per bag. Each bag contains 8 ounces of powder.

Pros

  • A good source of potassium chloride
  • Can help with arthritis and joint pain
  • It helps to boost the immune system and increase energy.
  • Works as a blood purifier and natural diuretic

Cons

  • More expensive than other products of a similar size
  • The added minerals can give the sea moss a bitter taste

Swanson Full Spectrum Irish Moss 400 mg 60 Caps

Not everyone wants a million ways to use something! If you just want a quick, easy option to get the benefits of sea moss, these capsules are the very easiest way without dealing with the plant or even the powder. This is a fantastic full-spectrum option in a convenient capsule form.

Pros

  • Creates a natural energy boost
  • A quick and easy way to consume sea moss without needing to mix it with another product
  • You can avoid the sea moss taste by using a capsule

Cons

  • If you’re not used to sea moss, the pills can be too concentrated for new users
  • 400mg may not be strong enough to feel effects for frequent sea moss users

Irish Moss, Sea Moss and Bladderwrack 100 Capsules 1600 mg

For the same convenience of capsules but a higher dosage of sea moss plus bladderwrack, this is your best choice. The Bladderwrack capsules are a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber and promote healthier digestion and gut health.

Pros

  • Can benefit thyroid health
  • Contains amino acids, Vitamin C, and immune-boosting anti-oxidants
  • Made from all-natural, USDA approved sea moss
  • One fo the higher doses of sea moss capsules we’ve seen

Cons

  • As we mentioned above, the pills along might be too strong for someone who is not used to consuming raw sea moss
  • Must be taken in pill form, and cannot be mixed with anything

Alba Botanica Even Advanced Natural Moisturizer Sea Moss SPF 15

Late in this article, we’ll go more into depth on the benefits of using sea moss as a topical treatment for sensitive skin or inflammation. For a great daily moisturizer that evens and brightens skin tone, this is a great sea moss option—and it even has SPF 15 protection.

Pros

  • Contains powerful marine complex minerals that promote an even skin tone
  • protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays
  • Uses 100% vegetarian ingredients and no animal testing
  • Is free from parabens and harsh sulfates
  • Leaves the skin feeling smooth and hydrated

Cons

  • Each tube only contains 2oz of liquid
  • Contains fragrance which may irritate some sensitive skin

Naturopathica Moss Blemish Treatment Mask

Sea moss has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can provide conform for people who have sensitive skin. The Naturopathica sea moss treatment mast is perfect for people who suffer from inflamed facial skin or pimples. This soothing mask of clay and sea moss is a real treat.

Pros 

  • Provides soothing relief for skin irritation and inflammation
  • Works great to eliminate breakouts and acne
  • Perfect for sensitive and acne-prone skin, as well as all skin types
  • Soothing and luxurious texture and scent

Cons

  • This product has a high price tag on par with luxury skincare brands
  • May cause some irritation if your skin is not used to all-natural products. We recommend patch testing a small amount before using on your whole face.

Where can you buy Sea Moss?

Honestly, the best place to buy sea moss, especially right now, is online, direct from the source. Here we list the top five products we like right now, and where you can find them.

Ways to Add Sea Moss to Your Diet

If you aim to transform sea moss into a gel, first you must prepare it. Wash the seaweed thoroughly, and then allow it to soak it for about one day. Once it has absorbed enough water it is ready for the blender.

Cooking With Sea Moss

For cooking, sea moss is a healthful, natural way to thicken puddings, smoothies, jams, and soups. If you’ve ever cooked with ground flax meal or flax seeds, you may have had a similar experience to using Irish moss gel as a thickener.

How Much Sea Moss to Take Daily

This depends in large part on your goals, your body, and your health.

Sea moss doesn’t have much flavor, but its consistency can be unpleasant. Either way, it’s best to start low and aim to hide the taste. Try using it in:

  • Blended soups
  • Cakes
  • Chocolate
  • Dairy-free elixirs
  • Homemade ice cream
  • Homemade nut/seed milk
  • Juices
  • Nut cheeses
  • One-pot meals and stews
  • Raw desserts
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces
  • Smoothies
  • Stews

Sea moss smoothies are especially popular! But we also recommend just subbing it in for gelatin or anytime you need to thicken something. And why not try the traditional Jamaican Irish moss drink?

Remember, sea moss tastes like next to nothing, so you can experiment with this nutritious algae—don’t be afraid to get creative. Your new recipe might be the new, tasty superfood craze.

For other sea moss recipes, “Sea Moss for the Skin.”

How to use Sea Moss Topically

To start reaping the benefits of sea moss on behalf of your skin, make some of this silky lotion.

Sea Moss Lotion recipe

  • 2 tablespoons sea moss, powdered
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 2/3 cup aloe vera gel
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • several drops essential oil, if desired (optional)

Soak sea moss in distilled water for 30 to 60 minutes. Boil for 30 to 40 minutes in a deep saucepan. Strain off solids to reveal a transparent seaweed jelly.

Combine ½ cup of the seaweed jelly and the aloe vera gel (you should have a little extra Irish moss gel). Allow the mixture to cool.

Blend sea moss/aloe mixture on low speed. Slowly add the almond oil, coconut oil, and olive oil one by one in thin streams until blended. You will end up with a smooth, light lotion. Store it in a clean jar.

FAQs – What Nutrients Are in Sea Moss?

Whole food sea moss is filled with beneficial antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins. Along with foods like salmon rich in omega-3s, blueberries, walnuts, and kale, Irish moss deserves a reputation as a superfood.

So, what does sea moss do for your body?

Sea moss is a well-known naturally occurring iodine source, making it a resource for people suffering from thyroid disease. Iodized salt is the most common source of iodine in most Western diets, making it tougher for people needing to eat less sodium for medical reasons to get enough iodine in their food.

Irish moss is also rich in potassium chloride, which is why it works wonders breaking up mucous and congestion by helping dissolve inflammation and phlegm in the mucous membranes called catarrhs. It also holds anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties important for battling respiratory illnesses.

Sea moss is rich in vitamins A, E, F, and K. It is also a good source of minerals such as potassium and calcium that aid in absorption. You can see, then, why people traditionally prize sea moss for treating dry skin and other skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema. Irish moss moisturizers, creams, masks, and lotions are all popular.

The active constituents of sea moss are as follows. The majority of sea moss—about 55 percent—is a mucilaginous body. Another approximately 40 percent is polysaccharides and albuminoids, with the remaining 5 percent or so composed of mineral matter including calcium, iodine, potassium, magnesium, and sulfur.

Read on for an in-depth look at the health benefits of Irish moss.

What Are the Traditional Health Benefits of Sea Moss?

Remember: this is not medical advice. Refer to our disclaimer above.

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What is Sea Moss used for?

There are two basic ways that people use sea moss. One area focuses on beauty and skin and may endorse either or both topical and edible use of Irish moss. The other centers upon immune support and is mostly focused on ingesting sea moss.

Beauty and Skin Support

Creators of commercial lotions and cosmetic products often use sea moss as a skin-softening additive due to its natural skin-soothing properties. As a demulcent, Irish moss assists the skin in acting as a natural barrier to harmful elements and aids the skin in retaining essential lipids and moisture. Some users believe this contributes to a more silky feel and youthful appearance in the skin.

Boost the Immune System

Sea Moss supports the upper respiratory system by soothing the internal mucous membranes. It is therefore often added to nutritional and respiratory support formulas.

What Are the Benefits of Sea Moss?

Well, a lot depends on how you consume it. You can ingest sea moss, which means you can eat it in your food by using sea moss gel as a thickener, swallow it in smoothies or capsules, or brew it in tea. Or, you can use Irish moss topically, meaning you can apply lotion or balm with the sea moss in it to your skin.

The Benefits of Eating Sea Moss

One of the greatest benefits of eating sea moss is that it can soothe your digestive tract. Irish moss supports gut health and digestion as a prebiotic, a kind of dietary fiber that assists healthy bacteria—probiotics—grow in your gut. It’s also a tremendous natural source of soluble fiber, meaning that sea moss dissolves in water to form a gel that helps move stool through the digestive system and keeps you feeling full.

Irish moss may seem gross because of its thick, sticky consistency—a little snotty, to be honest. But in actually is tasteless, and pretty easy to add to many foods, so long as they can stand to get thicker. Sea moss is low in calories, 49 for every 100 grams, so it remains a low-calorie, high-impact source of fiber.

Additional sea moss benefits are that it soothes respiratory illness and boosts the immune system. Many of the same factors that enable it to soothe enflamed GI tissues allow it to calm respiratory tissues. Also, sea moss boasts immune-heightening essential minerals such as zinc, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. And its prebiotic effects also boost immunity by improving the gut microbiome.

Irish moss is rich in iodine, itself a thyroid super fuel. It is therefore critical in assisting in brain and bone development during pregnancy and childhood and the regulation of metabolism throughout life. Iodine also promotes normal breast tissue development.

Finally, sea moss is rich in important minerals such as folate.

As always, consult a nutritionist before making radical changes to your diet.

The Benefits of Using Sea Moss Topically

Sea moss can help with aging skin and acne because it has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It can also reduce inflammation and reduce microorganism populations on the skin because it is rich in sulfur.

Minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin K as well as omega-3 fatty acids all promote optimal skin cell function and help hydrate the skin. Topical use allows healthy skin to absorb the minerals and vitamins directly.

Is Sea Moss Bad For You?

These are exciting benefits! But even so, there is not much solid science out there supporting them, even though the fans of this sea vegetable are serious about their position.

Of course, there’s not much research on Irish moss generally, and that is in line with other algae. It’s not that easy to identify the nutritional properties of Irish moss in a definitive way because minerals and vitamins vary by season and location. In addition, it’s difficult to determine how the body metabolizes and absorbs the nutrients in algae.

Nevertheless, as with other folk medicine, superfoods, and natural remedies, time usually tells. Sea moss has been part of a health and wellness routine for longer than it had that name, so it is likely that some users do experience benefits.

Sea Moss and Pregnancy

As with anything else, without guidance from a doctor, you should assume that you should not use sea moss during pregnancy or lactation.

What Are the Side Effects of Sea Moss?

Consult your doctor before using anything new, including sea moss, particularly if you take pharmaceutical drugs or have a medical problem or a health condition.

Too much iodine can inflame the thyroid gland and even cause cancer. Iodine overdose can cause nausea, fever, vomiting, and coma. Do not take an iodine supplement and Irish moss at the same time.

Does Sea Moss Raise Blood Pressure?

It is possible that sea moss could help lower blood pressure. However, there is no support for that in the research yet.

According to scientists in Ireland, more than one kind of common, edible Irish seaweed could help reduce blood pressure. It works because it contains a protein that stops renin, a compound that causes blood pressure to rise.

The seaweed also contains potassium, a mineral that is blood pressure-friendly, and valuable amino acids that can help prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce high blood pressure. It’s not clear that Irish moss will prove to be exactly the same, but it does share some of the same nutrients.

Are There Any Downsides to Sea Moss?

Although some sea moss beauty products are labeled “organic,” it’s not totally clear what that means. The “organic” term applies to foods more than beauty products, although of course farming practices matter. More importantly, it is not clear that there is any substantive difference in how the products perform.

Iodine can help some people with health issues but it can pose a risk for those with autoimmune thyroid conditions such as Hashimoto’s. In Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland in error, and too much iodine can trigger hypothyroidism.

In rare instances, too much iodine can also cause side effects in people without Hashimoto’s. For example, excessive levels of iodine may cause an enlarged thyroid gland or goiter, thyroid gland inflammation, or even thyroid cancer. Iodine levels that are too high may also cause your stomach, throat, and mouth to burn, along with fever, nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting.

The FDA recommends 150 mcg—that’s micrograms—of iodine daily. On the other hand, among women, in particular, iodine deficiency is on the rise.

Still, use caution when determining how much iodine you’re getting to be safe. The nutrients in sea moss differ based on where it originates, so the amount of iodine per serving may also vary.

Many people choose either the powdered form of Irish moss or the encapsulated version—probably because it’s so much easier and less disgusting than making the gel. Still, in any format, check with your doctor first. Remember that the FDA does not regulate these or any supplements, so it’s definitely important to read the labels to ensure you get a quality product. Buy products third parties have tested for impurities by looking for labels with a Consumer Labs stamp, a National Science Foundation (NSF) label, a UL mark from the UL Empowering Trust, or a USP United State Pharmacopeia stamp.

No matter what anyone else says, stop taking Irish moss and see a doctor if you experience any negative side effects such as nausea or itchy throat, or burning, irritation, redness, or stinging from topical products. These are signs of an allergic reaction and demand immediate action.

What Should You Know Before Trying Sea Moss?

No skin product can meet all of your beauty needs, and no superfood can cure every health challenge. The good news is that sea moss has minimal side effects. That’s actually great news because to really gain the benefits, you have to use it consistently.

Expect to you use your Irish moss products daily or as directed for several weeks to notice the benefits. Stick with it and you should notice a difference if you have the right product and dose.

What Are the 92 Minerals in Sea Moss?

Does sea moss have essential minerals? Most definitely.

It is among the best sources of trace minerals—and vitamins, too. Of the 102 nutrients and minerals that comprise the human body, we need to take in 92. Sea moss contains important minerals such as calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, sulfur, and to a lesser extent, sodium.

Many sea moss products also include B-complex vitamins, silicon, and bladderwrack, which enhances metabolic health. Most Irish moss products contain those 92 minerals of the 102 minerals in the human body.

The History of Sea Moss

People first started using sea moss to treat respiratory illness in Ireland around 1810. Called “carraigín” for “little rock” in Irish, traditional uses were mostly medicinal.

However, from 1846 to 1851 during the Great Hunger, Irish moss remained one of the few sources of nutrients for many in Ireland. For those settled near the coast, sea moss was often a lifeline.

Like some other types of seaweed found along the coast of Ireland, locals harvested sea moss when the water receded from the shore after the spring tides. Traditionally, harvesters raked rocks for the seaweed. They returned over the shallow waters by horseback or boat to sort the harvest and sun-dried it for up to two weeks.

Irish moss also came to the Caribbean and Jamaica in particular, where it is traditionally used sea moss to treat illness. And although some use it on the island to boost male libido, no scientific evidence supports that practice.

In any event, it is clear that people have been successfully using sea moss for a long time. There is a folk medicine tradition that celebrates this superfood and plant’s healing potential.

Is Sea Moss Healthy?

Despite this long cultural history, sea moss has sometimes been maligned in the press. This is mostly due to misunderstanding, actually. Here’s why.

Seaweed can be used to make carrageenan, a thickening agent that is sometimes used in vegan milk and actual dairy products alike. However, in recent years the International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled one form of carrageenan “a possible human carcinogen,” and we already know the ingredient causes inflammation.

However, Irish moss and industrially processed carrageenan are not the same things, although the names can be confusing. The one type of carrageenan that, isolated, can be a problematic ingredient, is one component of many in the whole food that is naturally occurring sea moss.

Consider whether it seems more dangerous to eat high numbers of a vitamin A supplement—or to eat large amounts of spinach and carrots. This is not an exact analogy, but a reasonable comparison.

Traditional Irish diets, especially in coastal communities, often include sea moss. For generations, families in these towns have used sea moss to prevent gastric problems, to treat respiratory illnesses, to maintain thyroid health, and to keep internal tissues and skin healthy.

It seems both inaccurate and unwise to judge a whole food’s healthfulness isolated ingredients, processed components, or in unnaturally high concentrations. Of course, each person is unique. As with anything else, you might find yourself feeling more or less sensitive. But the only studies available that concern the safety of Irish moss are actually related to processed and extracted carrageenan. If you’re not sure, avoid it.

Final Thoughts on Sea Moss

One of nature’s superfoods, sea moss offers an interesting way to make a smoothie that might help you boost your immune system. For generations, sea moss has been part of folk medicine, and its modern fans argue that there’s a great reason for that. Check out these highly recommended Irish moss products if you’d like to find out why.

Disclaimer

This information in our Complete Guide to Sea Moss is provided for informational purposes only. It should serve as a general educational reference alone and is not medical advice. In no case should online research replace professional health advice or medical care.

Furthermore, although this content is intended to be as complete as possible, it is not exhaustive. This guide does not provide format recommendations, dosage information, warnings about possible drug interactions, or toxicity levels. Always seek the advice of a qualified health practitioner before implementing any health-related information or changing your health regimen.

Dissecting the 3 Types of Cannabis Seeds: Regular, Feminized, and Autoflowering 

When deciding to grow cannabis, the first place to start is with the seeds. Most seed banks will give you the option to choose the type of seed you want for each strain. Cannabis seeds are divided into three distinct categories: regular, feminized, and auto-flowering. The kind of seed you choose ultimately depends on your experience growing cannabis, and how well you understand the process. Each seed-type comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Let’s break down the three types of cannabis seeds to help you get to know the pros and cons of each.

Regular seeds

Regular seeds are the result of sexual reproduction between a male (pollen-producing) plant and a female (ovule bearing) plant. In Cannabis cultivation, these seeds are usually the product of hand-pollination. A breeder hand-pollinates a female plant using pollen collected from a male plant. The seeds produced by these hand-pollinations are similar to the seeds produced by wild populations of cannabis.

Advantages of regular seeds

They are relatively inexpensive and easy to find. Many expert growers suggest that beginners use regular seeds for their first few cultivation attempts. Beginners are more likely to make mistakes, and regular seeds are inexpensive and easy to replace. Regular seeds are also popular among plant breeders, who need both male and female plants to experiment with selective breeding. Regular seeds are also available in a variety of strain combinations, such as indica-dominant or sativa-dominant.

Disadvantages of regular seeds

There is a 50% chance the seed produces a male plant. It can be hard to differentiate male plants from female plants until they are at least 3-4 week old seedlings. You could end up with male plants in a greenhouse full of females. Male plants are usually undesirable unless you are trying to breed new strains or collect pollen for future use (“pollen banking”).

Feminized seeds

When female Cannabis plants are “stressed” they sometimes begin to produce pollen. Stressful conditions for a female Cannabis plant include inadequate water, intense heat/UV light, intense herbivory, or insufficient access to male plants. Growers have learned to take advantage of this natural phenomenon to produce “feminized seeds.” If a female Cannabis plant is subjected to stressful conditions (or chemicals are applied to the plant to mimic stressful conditions), the female plant may produce pollen-bearing flowers. Pollen is harvested from those flowers and used to pollinate the female flowers of the same plant (self-pollination). Once the female plant has pollinated itself, it is almost guaranteed to produce seeds that will only grow up to be females (due to the lack of Y chromosomes involved in reproduction).

Advantages of feminized seeds

While reliable empirical evidence is lacking, some growers report that >98% of feminized seeds produce female plants. If your primary goal is to produce seedless female buds and you do not want to worry about accidentally growing male plants, this may be the best option for you.

Disadvantages of feminized seeds

Feminized seeds are more expensive than regular seeds. They would not be suitable for anyone hoping to collect pollen or breed new strains.

Autoflowering seeds

The most popular varieties of Cannabis are Cannabis ssp. sativa and Cannabis ssp. indica. However, there is a third subspecies of Cannabis, C. ruderalis. Ruderalis evolved to survive and reproduce in the long-winter climates of Europe and Russia. Spring and summer are very short in these regions, so ruderalis developed fewer light requirements to trigger seed germination and flowering. Seeds that contain ruderalis genetics do not require a change in light cycle to germinate or begin flowering, so they are described as “auto-flowering”.

Advantages of autoflowering seeds

These seeds produce small plants that flower very quickly, which may be an advantage if you do not have a lot of time or growing space. The short stature of these plants may also be an advantage if you are trying to grow plants under a legal height limit. You also do not need an elaborate cultivation plan or lighting system. Plants grown from auto-flowering seeds often produce flowers that are high in CBD but low in THC, making them a good option for medicinal cannabis users.

Disadvantages of autoflowering seeds

The plants produced by autoflowering seeds are often characterized by flowers with very low THC content. These seeds produce small plants, so they may not be a good option if you are trying to produce large quantities of buds.

Whichever type of seeds you choose, you can still grow high-quality cannabis plants. Some seeds involve more hands-on care than others, but depending on how much work you want to invest in the process, all of the cannabis seeds we mentioned can get you bountiful yields. When choosing a seed type, keep in mind things like your grow space, your budget, and how much time you’re willing to invest in the grow.

Breaking Down The Anatomy of a Marijuana Plant

The cannabis plant, like any plant, is a complex living organism. Its anatomy consists of many different parts that work together to help the plant flourish. If you are thinking of growing cannabis, understanding its anatomy is a must. However, even if you’re not a grower, there’s fascinating science behind the cannabis plant you see in its final form. 

Let’s explore the different parts of the marijuana plant and explain how each component works within the plant. 

Seeds

Marijuana is an annual plant, meaning that you plant the seeds, they flower, and then at the end of the season, they die. The next year, new seeds must be planted. It’s also important to note that marijuana plants are dioecious. Dioecious plants have separate female and male plants. Male plants create flowers and pollen to fertilize the female plants. After flowers and seeds, the fruits of the female plant some of the most highly sought out parts of the cannabis plant. 

Flowers

Male cannabis flowers look kind of like miniature light yellow or green bananas before they open. Female flowers are shaped more like a teardrop before they open. The flowers of male plants are not very rich in cannabinoids like THC and CBD, meaning their flowers are not directly useful to humans. 

The flowers of female cannabis plants produce what we know as cannabis buds. These are what people have known and loved about cannabis for decades. When people refer to cannabis “buds,” they’re referring to female cannabis flower, also known as the calyx. 

The calyx is the part of marijuana that you smoke or the part of hemp you use to extract CBD. A fertilized calyx creates a little pocket where seeds can grow. If a female plant is not fertilized, within the calyx will be many trichomes. What are Trichomes? Let’s find out. 

Trichomes

Trichomes are glands that secrete cannabinoids and terpenes. This is why an unfertilized female plant is the most potent in THC and CBD, as well as terpenes.

On the plant, trichomes look like tiny little globe-like resin glands that provide a crystal coating on the calyx. They contain lots of cannabinoids. THC and CBD are the most prominent cannabinoids found in cannabis, though there are hundreds more. Trichomes also produce and secrete terpenes. 

Terpenes

Terpenes are the aromatic oils that give cannabis its unique smell and taste. Kief, hash, and Butane Hash Oil (BHO) all exist because of trichomes. Each terpene has its own properties and benefits. Terpenes work together with cannabinoids within the plant. The result of these two parts together is what’s known as the entourage effect. This effect is what creates the feeling of being “high” in cannabis in medical marijuana. 

Cannabinoids

There are hundreds of cannabinoids, but the two most popular and prominent within the plant are THC and CBD. THC, or Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is what causes psychoactive effects in the marijuana you consume. CBD or Cannabidiol doesn’t create any psychoactive effects but promotes other benefits like pain relief and works as a mood stimulant. 

A few other cannabinoids that are present include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC). All of the cannabinoids work together to create unique strains that affect users. 

Pistils and Stamen

If you see something that looks like hairs growing out of the calyx, those are pistils. They start white but then turn orange, brown, and red as the plant matures. You might notice them bend in different directions. This is because they are searching for pollen from the male plant to fertilize them in the female plant. Pistils do not contain trichomes, meaning they don’t contain cannabinoids or terpenes or have any influence over how rich a female cannabis plant is in those compounds. 

Pistils are exclusive to the female plants. Male plants have a stamen that produces pollen sacs that then pollenate the pistils of the female plants. The stamen contains sacs of green and yellow pollen. Sometimes you may come across a hermaphrodite plant, which is a female plant that also contains these pollen sacs. If you do find an intersex plant, it’s important to remove it. Otherwise, you risk the rest of the weed becoming seeded. 

Stem 

The stem of the cannabis plant supports both its flowers and leaves. They contain vascular tissues that carry water and nutrients throughout the plant. Stems eventually grow thicker areas, called nodes, where the leaves come out. The main stem is the primary source of water and nutrients for the rest of the plant. 

At the stem’s tip is the cola. The cola is a part of the female cannabis plant only. This is where the flowers come out. Specific gardening techniques can be used to increase the number of colors on a plant to enhance the harvest. Sometimes branching occurs off the stem, usually on sativa plants, where the stem grows additional leaves or nodes. 

Leaves 

The first leaves to grow along a cannabis stem only contain a single leaflet, complete with the distinctive serrated edge and pointy tip. Further along the stem, the leaves will grow with more leaflets in pairs. Cannabis leaves tend to have five, seven, or nine leaflets on each leaf, though certain strains sometimes have more. Sativa strains are the ones that will often have more leaves. Using the sun’s energy to mix carbon dioxide and water into sugars, called photosynthesis, the cannabis plant then has the strength to continue its growth. 

Marijuana leaves contain delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, the precursor to the psychoactive form of THC, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol is non-psychoactive, so it won’t get you high, but it is known to have lots of therapeutic value. Some people use cannabis leaves to make edibles and extracts. 

Generally, there are three types of cannabis plants whose leaves have unique enough characteristics to identify them. The three that are most common are sativa, indica, and ruderalis. 

Sativa leaves tend to be long, straight, and slender. Each plant can contain up to 13 light green fingers. Indica leaves, on the other hand, are broad and shorter in length. They usually carry only 7-10 fingers. Some strains, like Afghan Kush, grow with huge, wide fan leaves that tend to be dark green and dense. Ruderalis cannabis leaves look like young cannabis sativa plants. Their leaves are thin and lighter green. They only produce about five fingers per plant at the most. Ruderalis is the result of autoflowering seeds. 

In seed-bearing plants, you may come across cotyledon leaves. A cotyledon leaf forms alongside the root through a process called embryogenesis. It tends to be the first set of leaves to appear after germination. They are usually small leaves that look very green in appearance.  

Roots

Moving down into the earth, the roots of the cannabis plant have been playing a crucial role throughout the entire growth process. The roots are the vascular system of the marijuana plant. They are continuously drawing in nutrients from the soil to feed the cannabis plant. In marijuana plants, the root zone contains a single tap root and later on develops a system of secondary roots. It continues to develop roots until it becomes a fibrous mass of roots. Xylem in the plant continuously pumps water through the roots for the rest of the plant to stay hydrated. 

While different strains and varieties of marijuana plants will have various physical features, the basics remain the same. Understanding the anatomy of the cannabis plant is the first step to understanding how marijuana works and how to grow the best plant.

How To Care For Indoor Succulents

All succulents are plants, but not all plants are succulents. This article is about the noun form of a succulent; if you are looking for inspiring photos of plump fruits or mesmerizingly tasty recipes for tonight’s dinner, you will have to look elsewhere.

As a noun, a succulent is a plant that is native to arid regions of the world and places that get little rainfall, irregular rainfall, or seasonal rainfall. As the etymology of their name suggests, succulents have been named such because of their fleshy leaves—ideal for storing water so that they can survive those periods when there is very little water in their external environments.

Succulent plants do not have needles like coniferous trees nor do they have broad, flat leaves like deciduous trees. As such, succulents and their unique anatomy require different methods of care than a spider plant or your freshly chopped Christmas tree (which doesn’t actually count as a coniferous houseplant, by the way).

Choosing Your Succulent: Best Species for Indoor Growing

There are hundreds of species of succulents, including varieties like cacti, aloe plants, and orchids. Even among these different succulent species, there will be different standards of care and recommended ways of caring for succulent plants. Don’t worry, you don’t need a green thumb to keep most of these indoor plants alive. The following are five types of indoor succulents that would fare well lounging on your dining room table or looming above an entryway.

Aloe Vera (Aloe vera)

Aloe Vera has long, slender leaves that are dotted with prickles. The sap inside the leaves has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years to treat burns and other wounds. It does best in direct sun.

Zebra Plant (Haworthiopsis attenuate)

Zebra Plants have triangular leaves that radiate out from a single stem and that have horizontal stripes. This plant usually grows to about five inches tall and six inches wide; it is a compact plant that will do well in tight spaces. Zebra plants require moderate to full amounts of sunlight.

String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

String of Pearls is another relatively compact plant that is made up of short vines covered in what look like green, fleshy “pearls”. While it is a hardy plant, it also requires moderate to full sunlight.

Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)

The Panda Plant has many wide leaves radiating out from the stem. These leaves have small brown spots on their tips and are covered in little white hairs. This fuzzy plant’s size will depend on the size of its planter; it thrives in dry conditions.

Burro’s Tail or Donkey’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)

Burro’s Tail is made up of small, fleshy “pearl”-like leaves that are densely packed together to form numerous hanging clumps. This succulent is easy to grow and care for as it can tolerate any kind of soil with good drainage.

How to care for succulents indoors

Succulents may be evolutionarily adapted to do well in low moisture conditions, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need any water at all. If you grow succulents indoors, make sure you keep them in a container that gets good drainage so that the water in the soil has a chance to dry out completely between waterings. Although be wary of your plant drying out quickly because of lack of water or too much drainage. Because the leaves of succulents are made to store water, you don’t need to water them as often as other houseplants and doing so could actually be detrimental to the health of the succulent. Some clues to watch for to see if your succulent needs more water? Look for anything out of the ordinary about the leaves. If they are usually plump and shiny but are starting to shrink and turn dull, the leaves are telling you they need more water. When you water succulents, pour water into its container until it starts to drip from the bottom. When draining soil at home, make sure you’re using a container that allows for water to drain through the bottom. Then remove the saucer while letting the water drain so that the succulent soil doesn’t continue to soak in the water that it is trying to dispel.

When choosing a container for your succulent to call ‘home,’ the most important thing to remember is that this container needs to have drainage holes. If the container is too good at holding in water, your plant will suffer in overly moist conditions. Also, since most succulents have shallow root systems, you don’t need a lot of soil and can get away with using a shallow bowl to house your plant. Beyond these health concerns, feel free to choose as cute or as ugly a home for your succulent as your heart desires.

Nix your normal potting soil when planting succulents. They thrive in sandier soils that promote water drainage; you can purchase succulent-specific soil, or you can replicate this medium by creating your own mixture of potting soil and sand. You want it to have the consistency of a handful of sweaty cookie crumbs—there’s enough moisture for it to clump together a bit but the mixture will mostly remain gritty and loose.

Usually, the more light a succulent can get, the happier it will be. In nature, these plants often thrive in bare, arid conditions that get plenty of sunlight. While you will want to research your specific species of succulent to determine its ideal lighting conditions, you can generally expect to find a place in which your plant can get bright light for long stretches of time. In warmer climates, you can even find a place for your plants in a sunny outdoor spot. However, light is not equivalent to temperature; please don’t leave succulents to suffer in frigid temperatures in your efforts to find them a light-flooded habitat.

Power Boost

When growing succulents, you can encourage them to grow quicker by feeding them fertilizer. Succulents naturally grow best during the spring and summer months so it is more helpful to fertilize during these periods of increased growth than during winter months in which their growth rate is experiencing a natural decline. You can use normal houseplant fertilizer for succulents, but remember to pare down the amount of fertilizer you use. Go for half (or less) of what you feed your other house plants and feed them 3-4 times TOTAL over the course of a few months.

Succulents like having friends as much as we do. When growing your succulents, try pairing them with another plant. You can plant multiple species of succulents in the same container—check before doing so that you are pairing together plants that have similar growth rates and care requirements.

Final Thoughts

Contrary to what your doting heart may believe, succulents survive best when they are mostly left alone. Because your living room is not the native habitat of kind of succulent, it’s a good idea to look into the species of succulents that are better equipped to handle domestic life and what conditions will keep them happiest. Keep in mind the container and soil they’re living in, how you are watering them, the amount of light they get, and if they could benefit from a little fertilizer. Succulents require a very different standard of care than other houseplants, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult to raise your own succulent garden of these unique plants.