Cetraria Icelandic, Icelandic moss

Cetraria Icelandic, Icelandic moss


perennial foliate-bushy lichen 10-15 cm high with a multi-lobed branched greenish-brown thallus attached to the soil or to the bark of trees, stumps with the help of rhizoids. The thallus at the base is narrowed, grooved or tubular folded, with grooved or almost flat, ciliated lobes bare along the edge. The latter in their raw form are soft-skinned, painted at the base in a lighter color, towards the top – in a darker color. At the ends of the blades, fruiting bodies are formed – alopecia, bags with 8 unicellular spores in each develop in them. It is necessary to distinguish between Icelandic moss and a similar species – curly cetraria, found in the same places of growth, but not subject to harvesting.

Cetraria Icelandic grows in open sandy places in pine forests, swamps, a little less often in Polesie in pine and mixed forests, always far from industrial areas. The presence of Icelandic cetraria, as a rule, is an indicator of the cleanliness of the environment.

In medical practice, Icelandic cetraria was introduced by Borich in 1671 under the name lung, or Icelandic, moss.

Thallus of Icelandic cetraria contain biologically active substances of various groups: carbohydrates (70-80%) in the form of lichen starch lichenin (up to 64%) and isolichenin (up to 10%); sugar (13%) – of which glucose 97%, galactose (2.5%), mannose (0.5%); tannins (1-2%), iridoids – cetrarin (2-3%), lichen acids (2-3%) – cetraric, protocetraric, fumaroprotocetraric, paralychesteric, usnic; trace elements – 100 g of the product contains 100 mg of iron, 2 mg of copper, 2.1 mg of manganese, 2.7 mg of titanium, 0.4 mg of nickel, 0.4 mg of chromium, 0.2 mg of boron, traces of molybdenum; vitamins – ascorbic and folic acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, also proteins (0.5% -3%), fats (2-3%), wax (1%), gum and pigments (6-8% ).


The content of biologically active substances of various pharmacological groups in the thallus of the Icelandic cetraria determines the fairly widespread use of the Icelandic cetraria in official and folk medicine for the treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (gastritis, ulcers), dystrophy, general exhaustion, diseases of the respiratory tract and lungs (bronchitis, cough of various intensity, bronchial asthma, tuberculosis), infectious diseases of the skin, burns and diaper rash, disorders of the thyroid gland, anemia.

The antitussive, antiemetic, enveloping effect of cetraria products is due to the presence of polysaccharides. The mucous substances of cetraria act envelopingly on the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract, therefore they are used for bronchitis with a strong cough, bronchial asthma, whooping cough, chronic bronchial catarrh. Acting on the mucosa of the digestive tract in gastrointestinal diseases, cetraria mucus stabilizes the excretory function of the gastric glands in hyperacid gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcers, diarrhea, and reduces vomiting in early toxicosis of pregnant women. In the recipes of traditional medicine, the Icelandic cetraria mucus is combined with sage, mint, coltsfoot, thyme, horsetail, angelica, calamus, snake mountaineer.

Three centuries ago, cetraria won a place of honor among the foodstuffs in Iceland. The local population was so accustomed to adding cetraria to bread that they preferred only flour products containing Icelandic moss.

With a general weakness of the body, jellies that do not have taste and smell are introduced into the diet. To prepare them, 100 g of Icelandic cetraria are poured into 1 liter of water, infused for 2-3 hours, 10 g of baking soda are added. The water is drained, the moss is again poured with 0.5 liters of boiling water and boiled for 30 minutes, then filtered through cheesecloth and cooled. The jelly is eaten for a long time until you feel better. Such jellies are also recommended for dry cough, gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, to improve appetite. In addition, cetraria mucus is used to reduce the local irritant effect of some products.

Water extracts and jellies from cetraria help to improve the absorption of food and restore strength after physical overload, serious illnesses and are used to treat malnourished patients with asthenia, dystrophy, and muscle weakness.

The presence of tannins in Icelandic cetraria makes it possible to use it as an astringent and bactericidal agent for inflammatory processes of the mucous membranes, for burns, for violations of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as an astringent for poisoning with heavy metals and plant poisons.

Lichen acids are of the greatest value in Icelandic cetraria. Among lichen acids, usnic acid has found practical application, as it has a strong antibacterial effect against staphylococci, streptococci, subtilis bacteria, and mycobacteria. Studies have shown that the sodium salt of usnic acid has bacteriostatic properties even at a dilution of 1: 2000000, at a higher concentration it kills tuberculosis bacteria, and the mechanism of the antibiotic effect is associated with the termination of oxide phosphorylation in bacteria. Icelandic cetraria preparations, the action of which is associated with the presence of usnic acid and its sodium salt, are used both in official and in folk medicine: externally – for the treatment of infectious skin diseases, internally – for the treatment of tuberculosis, whooping cough, bronchial asthma, respiratory diseases. In addition to the thallus of the Icelandic cetraria, the medicinal collections also include other types of medicinal raw materials, such as licorice root, nettle leaves, herbs, highlander, and horsetail.

The presence of trace elements (Fe, Mn, Cu, Co, Mo, B, Cr, Ni, Ti, I) and vitamin B12 makes it possible to use cetraria thalli in endocrine diseases, especially in case of insufficiency of the thyroid gland. Trace elements of the Icelandic cetraria take part in redox reactions and are necessary for the processes of growth and hematopoiesis. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the treatment of pernicious anemia.

Due to the high content of polysaccharides (70-80%) in combination with trace elements, Icelandic cetraria is a valuable immunomodulatory agent. Icelandic moss polysaccharides have antihypotoxic properties, are interferon stimulants and adaptogens.

A decoction of moss: brew 0.5 liters of boiling water or the same amount of hot milk 1 tbsp. l. well crushed raw materials, boil over low heat or in a water bath for 5 minutes, leave for 0.5 hours, strain. For external use, the decoction is prepared only on water.

Moss extract: pour 1 liter of cold water with 100 g of crushed moss, leave for 1 day, strain, put in a water bath and evaporate by 1/2 or 1/3 of the volume. Take 3 times every day for 0.5 hours before meals as a laxative. With excessive laxative effect, reduce the dose of the extract. The course of treatment is 14 days.

Cetraria kefir (the recipe was sent by Alexandrov Yu.M.): for 250 ml of kefir, take 1 tablespoon of crushed and dried cetraria and 1 teaspoon of sugar (you can use honey, jam instead of sugar), mix thoroughly and let it brew for 15 minutes. Drink in the morning instead of breakfast or in the evening instead of dinner.

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