Lichen medicinal

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Lichens already played a role in the preparation of medicines in ancient Greece. Naming and recognisability left much to be desired at that time, which, as one can imagine, led to a number of mistakes. Particularly in the Middle Ages, a large number of species were used for a wide variety of disorders, such as diabetes, liver disease, lung disease, headaches and rhinitis.

Types of lichen

Peltigera canina gold, mixed with black pepper and milk, as a medicine against rabies. According to the ‘signature theory’, it was also assumed that plants have medicinal properties for diseases of body parts with which they have similarities in appearance. For example, stone lichen Xanthoria parietina was seen as a medicine for jaundice and special powers as a hair growth agent were attributed to the beard-shaped Usnea. Based on this idea, lung moss {Lobaria pulmonaria) is beneficial for lung diseases. The thallus shows a pitted structure that closely resembles the inside of the lung surface. An infusion of this lichen is still recommended in homeopathy for asthma and cough. Tea made from reindeer moss (Clandina rangiferina) and Icelandic moss (Cetraria islandica) has traditionally been used as an effective remedy against coughs and respiratory diseases; it promotes blood flow to mucous membranes.

In the 1930s, the antibiotic effect of the lichen substance usic acid on certain bacteria and fungi was discovered. This licenic acid, extracted from Cladina stellaris, a lichen that is abundant in the Northern European tundra, is used for certain skin infections. Processed into powder preparations and ointment, it is marketed under the names ‘Usno’ and ‘Usniplant’. Numerous medicines containing lichen components are still sold in German pharmacies.

Cetraria islandica / Icelandic moss

the whole dried lichen is used medicinally.
The main ingredients are the mucilages: 40 to 60% water-soluble polysaccharides (lichenin, isolichenine) and the bitter substances: 2 to 3% fumaric protocetaric acid, usnic acid and other licenic acids. Furthermore, many enzymes, vitamins A and BI and also iodine

Medical use of Icelandic moss.

Broncho-pulmonary system:
Due to its high mucilage content, it is an antitussive and a soothing agent in diseases of the upper respiratory tract. If you want to use Icelandic moss as a mucilaginous expectorant, you must first remove the bitter substance by pouring away the first cooking water. The second broth contains a lot of mucilage and little bitter substance.

Digestive system:

If you want to use the bitter substance because of its strong anti-emetic properties, you will use the tincture, because the bitter substances dissolve in alcohol. The tincture is administered at a dosage of 50 to 60 drops per day.
The anti-emetic properties are used for vomiting, motion sickness, pregnancy vomiting, etc.

  • Protocetaric acid is an anti-emetic in low doses, but in higher doses it has a laxative effect (0.1 to 0.2 g).
  • Lichenin and isolichenin protect the gastrointestinal mucosa and exert an antiphlogistic effect. This property is useful in chronic stomach and intestinal complaints. Cold macerate is used for this purpose. The bitter substances partially dissolve and the mucus remains behind.

Because of the bitter substances, the dryer is used as an amarum and general tonic.

  • The cetraric acid (cetrarine) is said to have a beneficial effect on blood production, hence its use in anemic (anemia) conditions.
  • Usic acid has been detected in many lichens. It has antibiotic properties and resembles penicillin in its spectrum of action.

Icelandic moss can also be used in diabetes bread. The carbohydrates present are mainly metabolized into galactose and mannose.

Preparation method and dosage of Icelandic moss

Lichen islandicus: Depending on the desired effect, a warm infusion (liquid), a decoction (gel) or a cold macerate will be used. The average dosage is: 1.5 to 2.5 g per bag; drink several cups per day or
50 to 100 g of decoction at a time.Cetrarica islandica mother tincture: 25 drops 3 times per day.