One of nature's most potent cough relievers, Iceland Moss is a well-known sore throat remedy and a fantastic ally in tackling all kinds of respiratory problems.
Powered by a special kind of starch known as lichenin as well as antibiotic and antiviral acids, Iceland Moss is one of nature's strongest cures for all respiratory ailments - from the common cold to more complex lung diseases.
When boiled, lichenin turns into a jelly-like substance that soothes irritation in the respiratory tract and nasal passages, making it especially useful for combating mucous membrane inflammation and calming dry cough .
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 American Botanical Council has also noted its use for patients with pharyngitis, laryngitis, or bronchial ailments with an 86% sucess rate in a 1997 study.
Iceland Moss, just like Dandelion, Burdock, Gentian, or Angelica belongs to bitter herbs, a class known for helping proper digestion and functioning of the digestive system through stimulating digestive enzymes. Eaten as a staple food in Iceland for centuries, this resilient herb enhances the body’s ability to absorb nutrients while also being highly nutritious itself.
The plant's anti-inflammatory properties can work wonders in the stomach as well, which makes it a common aid in alleviating symptoms of gastritis, gastric ulcers and chronic digestive disturbances.
Due to its ability to gently expel intestinal worms and other parasites, Iceland moss is useful in treating digestive disorders caused by parasites.
With its antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, this plant is of great use as an immunity booster. Iceland moss boiled in milk is a traditional beverage from the plant's native region, and is still prepared today as a tonic for people recovering from illnesses.
Whilst Icelandic Moss is generally considered safe, it can cause nausea, looseness of the bowels, gastric irritation or liver problems in excessive doses or with prolonged use.
If you are taking any prescription medications, please contact your healthcare professional before consuming Icelandic Moss.
Disclaimer: These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.
Thought to be the very first lichen used as food by humans, Iceland Moss is one of forty species of Cetraria. It has been used in European folk medicine for centuries, primarily as a remedy for coughs and other ailments of the respiratory system. It was also traditionally used as a galactagogue - a herb that stimulates milk flow in breastfeeding mothers.
Whilst it grows in many alpine areas of the Northern Hemisphere, it is most famous for growing abundantly on the mineral-rich volcanic soil, in the pure, unpolluted air of the ancient lava fields in Iceland.
Known to be a highly nutritious food source, all the farms that had Icelandic Moss resources on their land would send a group of people every summer to collect the winter stores of lichens. The lichens were then prepared in a number of ways ranging from Iceland Moss milk, Iceland Moss porridge and breads to offal dishes and to make tea. Icelandic Moss was and still is a valuable food source for reindeer, caribou, musk oxen and moose.
It is thought that Icelanders have been using Icelandic Moss since the time of settlement in 874. The first mention of Iceland moss use in Iceland is in Jónsbók (Book of Laws) from 1281, which states that it is forbidden to trespass on other farms to pick lichens.
The Icelandic sagas also contain references to lichen picking expeditions where women and children went up on horseback into the mountains to pick it, with one adult man in attendance for supervision.
They slept in tents and packed the lichen in skin bags - Icelandic Moss was a life-saver in hard times. Since grain growing in Iceland never took off due to the unsuitable climate and terrain, moss was their staple. The more moss that was growing on a persons property, the more valuable the land was considered.
Furthermore, people in Norway ate Iceland moss during a seven-year famine that started in 1807. The Russians found another use for the lichen during World War II, when they prepared a version of molasses with Iceland moss.
Traditionally Iceland moss was considered a galactagogue and to have strong antibiotic, antiemetic, strongly demulcent and nutritive properties.
Other Common Names: Iceland lichen, eryngo-leaved liverwort, Islaendisch Moos (German), Islandslav (Swedish), mousse d’ Islande, lichen d’Islande (French), liquén de Islandia (Spanish), puklérka Islandská (Czech), Islanninjäkälä (Finnish), erba rissa, Lichene Islandico (Italian), and fjallagras (Icelandic).