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Cetraria islandica - L.

Common Name Iceland Moss, Island cetraria lichen, Oriental cetraria lichen
Family Parmeliaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards Indigestion and nausea with large doses. Rare liver damage. Herb bitterness possible in breast milk [301].
Habitats Damp places, usually on rocks and the bark of trees, especially conifers[21].
Range Britain. Found all over Europe, especially in the Arctic region.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cetraria islandica Iceland Moss, Island cetraria lichen, Oriental cetraria lichen


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Koeh-032.jpg
Cetraria islandica Iceland Moss, Island cetraria lichen, Oriental cetraria lichen
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Tigerente

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cetraria islandica is a LICHEN growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses:

A jelly is made by boiling the whole plant. It is nutritious and medicinal[5, 55, 61]. Rather bitter, it requires leaching, which can be done by changing the cooking water once or twice during the cooking process[172]. The dried and powdered plant can be mixed with wheat and used in making bread[2, 46, 61]. It is very bitter and the process required to leach it is far too time-consuming and tedious to be countenanced[9].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antibiotic;  Antiemetic;  Appetizer;  Demulcent;  Disinfectant;  Galactogogue;  Nutritive;  Tonic.


Iceland moss has been used since ancient times as a cough remedy and has also been used in European folk medicine as a cancer treatment[254]. In present day herbalism it is highly prized for its strongly antibiotic and demulcent actions, being used especially to soothe the mucous membranes of the chest, to counter catarrh and calm dry and paroxysmal coughs - it is particularly helpful as a treatment for elderly people[254]. Iceland moss has both a demulcent and a bitter tonic effect within the gut - a combination almost unique amongst medicinal herbs[254]. The whole plant is strongly antibiotic, antiemetic, strongly demulcent, galactogogue, nutritive and tonic[4, 7, 9, 21, 46, 61, 165, 238, 254]. It is excellent when used internally in the treatment of chronic pulmonary problems, catarrh, dysentery, chronic digestive disturbances (including irritable bowel syndrome and food poisoning) and advanced tuberculosis[4, 254]. Externally, it is used in the treatment of boils, vaginal discharges and impetigo[238]. The plant can be harvested as required throughout the year[7], preferably during dry weather, and can also be dried for later use[9]. Use with caution[21]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Cetraria islandica for cough & bronchitis, dyspepsia, inflammation of mouth and pharynx, loss of appetite (see [302] for critics of commission E).

Other Uses

Disinfectant;  Dye.

A powerful antibiotic can be obtained from the plant and this has become a fundamental ingredient in a wide range of commercially produced disinfectants[7]. A brown dye is obtained from the plant[46, 61].

Cultivation details

There is no known information on the cultivation of this plant[238]. It requires clean air and is very intolerant of atmospheric pollution so cannot be grown in towns[238]. See the plants native habitat above for ideas on how it can be encouraged to grow[K]. This species is a lichen, which is actually a symbiotic association of two different species, one an algae and the other a fungus. It is very slow-growing[9]. This plant is often used in commercially produced disinfectants[7].

Propagation

The only way of reproducing this plant is vegetatively. Almost any part of the plant can be used to produce a new plant, simply separate a portion and place it in its new home.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

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Botanical References

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