Cetraria islandica (Parmeliaceae)
ICELAND MOSS, CETRARIA
This grey-brown or olive lichen
of the cold north is given by herbalists to soothe the stomach, relieve
vomiting, and help disperse phlegm. It is also included in proprietary cough
Despite its common name, this moss is a lichen, growing on stony, barren ground in
high latitudes such as northern Europe, Iceland, the North American tundra, and
even Antarctica. It contains up to 70 per cent "lichen starch" and has long been used
as an emergency food in desolate places. A branched and curly perennial plant, it is
grey-brown or olive on top and paler with tiny white spots underneath.
Bitter acids, including cetraric,
fumarprotocetraric, and lichesteric; mucilaginous polysaccharides, including isolichenin and lichenin.
Expectorant; soothes internal body surfaces; suppresses nausea and vomiting; antibiotic; nutritive.
Given for gastritis (stomach inflammation), indigestion with vomiting, catarrh, and bronchitis.
Decoction, cold infusion, tincture, tablets, in proprietary cough medicines.