Carrageen is an Atlantic seaweed available in trendy supermarkets across Ireland. Californian hipsteratti like to call it Irish moss, and use it to set vegan desserts in place of verboten animal gelatin. So it’s not surprising that, when boiled, carrageen has an Angel Delight texture to salve achy throats. My little ones think this Cough and Cold Dynamite is a jelly dessert, administered from a spoon. Granted, their taste buds are probably shot when they’re fighting a cold.

It’s unclear whether the antimicrobial effect is from the raw honey, vinegar, turmeric, ginger or wild carrageen. There’s evidence to suggest that each of these sonic ingredients harbour their own deadly ninja moves. Not that I care much, so long as my cough is fixed.

Treating yourself with your mind is also a great recipe. If the placebo effect can account for up to a 48 per cent improvement in symptoms during some clinical trials, it’s not unfair to suggest that our minds are in fact the best superfood du jour. Such a state of affairs can really ruin a coffee break at a medical conference.

The idea that your brain can stimulate healing is hardly new. But it’s certainly worth remembering our brain’s currency in the healing process. If our emotional selves can help convince our physical selves that a fake treatment is the real thing — the placebo effect — just think of the amazing benefits and possibilities we all hold for our future wellness. Wish yourselves well, my friends!




The Brew

Makes 2 mugs

Carrageen is a type of Irish mossy seaweed available in loads of Irish supermarkets like Supervalu, and certainly in all good health stores.


Roughly 20g packet of Carrageen moss
3-4 cloves
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon

Optional add-ons;
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Crack of black pepper
Other citrus fruits
1 teaspoon minced turmeric root, or dried turmeric


1. Soak the carrageen in water for 30 minutes to rehydrate it. Remove, discard liquid, and rinse under the cold tap. Boil the carrageen in a large saucepan with the cloves and around 750ml of fresh water. Secure a lid on it.

2. After 20-30 minutes, strain the “ocean veg” brew and allow the liquid to cool to lip temperature before stirring in the remaining ingredients and optional add-ons.

3. The brew will set like lemon curd once cooled. If (or when) this happens, gently re-heat. If your cough is particularly chesty, make several batches with added ginger zest and sip all day, with the aid of a couple of Woody Allens.


For kids:

Add extra honey, making sure it’s locally sourced. Administer by the spoon to help with their bark! A few teaspoons a day is plenty. Not suitable for babies.



Taking the hell out of healthy.

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This article has 20 comments

  1. Catherine

    Just making your receipe, hoping beyond hope it helps, bad chest cough antibiotics didn’t work, not going there again, il let you know how I get on, I’ve a cough that would deafen you, has me drained, 
    Forever hopeful and optimistic 

  2. Fiona Dolan

    I made this brew using some Irish sea weed that I gathered on a Burren eco tourism tour (can’t remember the names of each but i threw in a few leaves (?) of each!)). Also added a stick of lemongrass and some cardamom in the mix! Turned out great. Thanks for the recipe! Fingers it’ll be my shield to the flu epidemic that seems to be going around! 🙂 

  3. Susie Fletcher

    Just received the Irish Seaweed Carrageen from your link and bemused to see on the packet that is is from Canada. Anyway I’m sure it’s roots were in Ireland. Am about to make the brew.

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