Brawley interviewed by Salon about sea moss gel

Salon spoke to Susan Brawley, professor at the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences, about sea moss, which has been trending on social media apps like TikTok for its purported health benefits. Brawley told Salon that sea moss is a type of red algae. Also known as “Irish moss,” or more technically Chondrus crispus, it grows along the rocky parts of the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America and is a foundation species in the North Atlantic intertidal zone. “It provides 3-D structure for smaller organisms and food for invertebrate herbivores in the low zone,” she said. Brawley said that foraged sea moss should not be harvested from polluted areas, but otherwise, she doesn’t see a negative environmental impact if people forage for their own Chondrus crispus. “Indeed, for centuries, that is exactly what coastal people did across the North Atlantic. When I came to Maine, a colleague who was a native Mainer gave me her handed-down family recipes for how to collect, clean, and prepare Irish moss, as well as a pudding recipe,” Brawley said.