Scientific Name/Common Name: Cetraria islandica / Icelandic Moss
Part(s) Used: Thallus “branches”
Constituents/Active Ingredients: 50% water-soluble polysaccharides, including lichenin and isolichenin. Also contains galactomannans and an acidic, branched polysaccharide containing D-glucose and D-glucuronic acid units. Other constituents include bitter-tasting lichen acids, fumaric acid, lichenostearic acid, cetraric acid, lichesternic, acid and protolichesterinic acid.
Overview: Icelandic moss (technically a lichen) has traditionally been used as a food and medicine in both Europe and North America. The polysaccharides in the lichen (plant-fungus partnership) form a moist and soothing layer over the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, and chest making it an effective treatment for mouth and throat infections as well as colds, coughs, bronchitis, and breathing disorders. Icelandic Moss has been used to treat inflammation and dryness of the respiratory tract in naturopathy for many years. Traditionally, it was used in Northern Europe in soups, porridges, and breads as well as for making folk medicines.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: For digestive and respiratory ailments; for soothing upset stomach and sore throats/cough. As a flavour enhancer and thickener in certain foods.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Publ. by Integrative Medicine Communications. Pp. 212 – 214. Kempe C, Gruning H, Stasche N, Hormann K. 1997.