- Family Stictaceae
- Lobaria pulmonaria
- Tree Lungwort, Oak Lungs, False Iceland Moss
- This lichen should not be confused with the common Lungwort which is a plant and not a lichen.
Lungmoss is a gray or light green lichen found growing in damp climates on trees and rocks in woodland areas. It is usually found in close proximity to two trees, the Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and the Beech (Fagus sylvatica). It has forked, irregular lobes measuring less than an inch in length. It can be gathered throughout the year. However, dry lichen should not be gathered as it is found mostly on dead plants and is no longer useful as a medicine.
As its names suggest, it has long been used in pulmonary disorders, including tuberculosis. However, it was also used to treat wounds, heal ulcers, reduce menstrual bleeding, relieve dysentery, and halt “choleric vomiting”.
Pierandrea Mattioli (1501-1577), an Italian physician and herbalist, recommended it for healing pulmonary ulcers and for treating blood-flecked phlegm.
- plant acids (including stictic and sticinic acids)
- fatty acids
- Lichen or whole plant
Because of its relaxing effect on the respiratory tract, the drug is used mainly for all chronic respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis, asthma, smoker’s cough, and other irritable coughs. In a decoction sweetened with honey, lungmoss is appropriate for all conditions marked by chronic respiratory mucus, especially coughs and bronchitis. The plant also treats pleurisy, and emphysema.
A beneficial, but under-used and under-appreciated plant, lungmoss is rich in bitters and seems to have two primary effects. First, it promotes the production and secretion of digestive enzymes throughout the entire digestive tract and helps to increase the appetite. Secondly, it increases the efficiency with the digestive process by encouraging the breakdown of proteins into peptides in the stomach.
Being astingent and a demulcent, lungmoss makes a useful remedy for pulmonary ulcers and for gastrointestinal problems, and is a highly suitable herb for treating children.