The main chemical compounds found in Icelandic Moss ( Cetraria Islandica ) are large amounts of a type of starch called lichenin. When this compound is boiled, it turns into a substance resembling mucilage which is particularly soothing to irritated mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract and nasal passages. It also contains complex polysaccharides that have immunostimulant effects and is especially useful to counter catarrh and calm dry coughs.
It is also a powerfully antibiotic, containing usnic acid and other lichen acids that combat bacteria and viruses.
The Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) concluded that “on the basis of its long-standing use, Iceland moss preparations can be used as a demulcent (soothing agent) for treating mouth and throat irritation and associated dry cough.”
The German Commission E has also approved its use for inflammation of the mouth and throat, coughs, and bronchitis.
Icelandic Moss is classed as a bitter herb – it stimulates digestive enzymes and enhances the body’s ability to absorb nutrients whilst it is in itself a highly nutritious food.
The aforementioned high mucilage content also exerts its soothing action in the digestive tract and the intestines, which helps to alleviate symptoms of gastritis, gastric ulcers, and chronic digestive disturbances. It is also useful in treating digestive disorders caused by parasites due to its ability to gently expel intestinal worms and other parasites.
Icelandic Moss Tincture:
Traditionally Taken: 2-3ml taken 2-3 times per day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.
Icelandic Moss tea is made by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1–2 tsp of powdered Iceland Moss. The mixture is covered and steeped for 10–15 minutes. The natural sweeteners can be added to the tea.
Icelandic Moss contains about 70% of lichenin or lichen starch. It yields a modification of chlorophyll (called thallochlor), fumaric acid, lichenostearic acid, and cetraric acid (which gives it a bitter taste). It also contains lichesterinic acid and protolichesterinic acids.
Whilst Icelandic Moss is generally considered safe, in excessive doses or with prolonged use, it can cause nausea, looseness of the bowels, gastric irritation or liver problems.
If you are taking any prescription medications, please contact your healthcare professional before consuming Icelandic Moss.
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