Iceland moss does not have leaves or roots and is a true example of a surviving species. They adapt to cold and dry climates and can stay more than one year in a latent state.
Northern Scandinavian Laplanders have used this moss from ancient times. The great Swedish botanist Linnaeus recommended it in the 18th century as a medicinal herb.
Healing Properties and Indications
The plant contains cetraric acid, which gives it aperitif and stimulating properties; as well as a high amount of mucilage to which it owes its emollient (soothing) properties, and other substances such as usnic acid, which, being active in-vitro against mycobacteria that cause tuberculosis, explain the antibiotic properties of the plant. The indications and properties of Iceland moss are the following:
- Expectorant, antitussive, and pectoral: In the case of bronchitis, catarrh, asthma, tracheitis, and laryngitis, the plant gives excellent results.
- Antitubercular: Iceland moss is recommended as a complementary remedy to treat pulmonary tuberculosis.
- Antiemetic: It helps stop persistent vomiting during pregnancy.
Iceland Moss Scientific Facts
- Other names: Eryngo-leaved liverwort.
- French: Mousse d’Islande.
- Spanish: Liquen de Islandia.
- Environment: It grows in coniferous forests and acidic mountain lands in northern Europe and America.
- Description: Linchen or moss five to ten cm long, of the Cetrariaceae family, with light brown stem deeply divided into unequal lobules.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The dried thallus (the body of the lichen).
How to use Iceland Moss
- Decoction with 10-20 g per liter of water, boiling for two minutes. Change the water then to eliminate its sour flavor, then boil again in one and a half liters of water until it reduces to one liter. Drink three or four cups a day, hot, sweetened with honey.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 300. Print.