Iceland moss

Parmeliaceae – Parmeliaceae.

Common name: Icelandic lichen.

Parts Used: Whole plant.

Pharmacy name: Icelandic moss – Cetrariae lichen (formerly: Lichen islandicus).

Botanical description. First of all, it must be said that the name “Icelandic moss” is incorrect from the point of view of botany, since we are not dealing here with moss, but with lichen. It reaches 4-12 cm in height and is a splayed bush with a forked, leafy thallus resembling deer antlers. Individual branches are 5-20 mm wide, but they are traditionally curved and grooved twisted. The coloration of their upper side is from olive to brown-green, the lower side is from whitish-green to light brownish, often with white spots. It is one of the most common terrestrial heath and forest lichens and can be found in sunny, dry areas of forest from the plains to the highlands.

Collection and preparation. The whole plant is harvested at the end of summer and autumn, dried in the air, added in chopped form to various teas or processed into medicines. When drying, it is important not to keep the plant in the light for too long. This negatively affects the valuable components of the lichen.

active substances. First of all, it is necessary to name mucus – up to 70%. Then organic acids follow, which have a slight antibacterial effect. Here it is worth mentioning sodium usnate, for which a bactericidal effect against the causative agent of tuberculosis has been established. We must not forget about the presence of iodine, enzymes, vitamins (A, B 1 , B 12 ) and volatile odorous substances. A stimulating effect on the immune system is expected.

Healing action and application.As a mucus, Iceland moss soothes irritations, as its mucus coats and soothes inflamed mucous membranes in the mouth, pharynx, stomach, and intestines. This is the basis of its use in the form of tea against coughs, as a means for rinsing the mouth and throat in diseases of the gums and inflamed tonsils, and for the treatment of wounds. Bitterness has a tonic effect on the stomach and intestines, as a result of which digestion is activated and appetite awakens. Components that have an antibacterial effect enhance the effect. Separately, they could hardly ensure the effectiveness of tea, but the combination of all active ingredients makes this medicinal plant a valuable medicinal product, which, unfortunately, is not used very often. Icelandic moss tea is effective for coughs (including whooping cough), gastrointestinal diseases, with loss of appetite and exhaustion as a result of infectious diseases. The German National Health Service lists only irritation in case of upper respiratory tract catarrh as areas of application.

  • Iceland moss tea: 2 lichen-topped teaspoons pour 1/4 liter of cold water, heat slowly to a boil and drain immediately. Drink 2-3 times every day for 1 cup. When coughing, you can sweeten with honey (do not sweeten for diabetics!).

My special advice. For patients with chronic bronchitis, “dust lung” or emphysema, I recommend drinking 1 cup of coltsfoot and Icelandic moss tea in the early morning in equal parts. It has been found to facilitate expectoration and relieve coughing spells (preparation as above). The presence of bitterness in both drugs also significantly improves overall well-being.

  • Tea mixture for whooping cough (thyme and Icelandic moss in equal parts): 1 tablespoon without top of the mixture is poured into 1/4 liter of boiling water, allowed to infuse for 5 minutes and then filtered. Drink 2-3 times every day for 1 cup.

Use in homeopathy. Cetraria, an Icelandic moss homeopathic remedy, is prepared as a tincture of air-dried lichen thallus in 60% alcohol. This initial tincture is used for traditional and suffocating coughs, loss of appetite and chronic gastrointestinal diseases with long-term persistent diarrhea. Unfortunately, modern homeopathy somewhat neglects this healing plant. Recent information is not available due to insufficient interest in it, and in the relevant literature it is mentioned only in passing.

Application in folk medicine. This valuable drug has been used in folk medicine only since the 17th century. As indications, lung diseases are in the first place, and mainly asthma, pulmonary tuberculosis and whooping cough are called. In addition, Icelandic moss tea is also given against acne and other “impure skin” diseases. Since acne, despite all modern medicines, is difficult to cure, it makes sense to try to use this remedy. But only it must be taken long enough and regularly, 3 cups of tea every day.

Side effects. The composition of the active ingredients eliminates the possibility of unwanted side effects.

Note. After the disaster with the Chernobyl reactor, it is hardly possible to obtain non-radioactive Icelandic moss. It is possible to replace mallow flowers in my recipes. It should also be borne in mind that lichens grow extremely slowly (their thallus grows only a few millimeters a year) and, in addition, are very susceptible to environmental pollution, so that in many places at present are dying out or have already died out. Therefore, the intensive collection of Icelandic moss can very quickly lead to irreparable losses. This, in our opinion, is another significant argument in favor of limiting its use and replacing it with other drugs.

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