What is Icelandic Moss?
If you’re curious about the benefits of Icelandic Moss Tea then it might be helpful to understand what it is first.
Icelandic Moss (Le lichen d’Islande) is not a moss at all; it’s actually a lichen.
This means that it is a combination of algae and fungus that grow together in a mutually beneficial relationship.
True Iceland lichen (Moss), whose botanical name is Cetraria islandica, has erect leaflike habits that give it an appearance like a moss.
This is where its name comes from.
Its color varies considerably from yellowish-green to a dark greenish or greyish-white color.
Iceland Moss draws its nutrients from the environment, hence it’s easily contaminated.
The growth of lichens like Icelandic Moss is believed to symbolize a healthy ecosystem with low pollution levels.
That’s why, like arctic thyme, Icelandic moss commonly grows in Iceland because it is the cleanest country in the world!
The lichen originates from Iceland and the Alpine areas of the Northern Hemisphere.
Traditionally, it was used as a herbal medicine for lung ailments, pulmonary tuberculosis, chest problems, and kidney/bladder issues.
It was also commonly used to treat fevers, lactation issues, diarrhea, and wounds that didn’t heal.
Scientific research to support the medicinal potential of Icelandic Moss is still missing.
However, this lichen is a popular European folk medicine thanks to its soothing action and the potential to limit the growth of bacteria.
Some people swear by its ability to treat irritation of the mouth and throat irritation, loss of appetite, common cold, and other ailments.
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Icelandic Moss Growth Habits
Icelandic Moss is not a vascular plant.
The structure of Icelandic moss can easily be mistaken for stems and leaves.
It grows loosely in sandy soils and can reach up to 3 to 4 inches in height.
The plant typically grows in damp places and can be found growing on lava slopes, plains of Iceland, rocky mountains, and the bark of trees.
The body of fungi, algae, and lichens is known as thallus.
It is not differentiated into stems and leaves, and it lacks true roots and vascular tissues.
Icelandic Moss’s body seems to be curled into small branched tubes that break off into flattened lobes fringed with extremely small papillae.
Its body is colored distinctly, with a brown color on the upper surface and a gray-brown color with scattered white spots all over the lower surface.
There are also white spots with a mealy appearance dispersed over the little depressions of the thallus.
Icelandic Moss grows in abundance throughout the mountainous regions of the Northern countries, including northern England, Scotland, and the mountains of North Wales.
It can also be found in South-west Ireland, and throughout the Arctic regions in North America.
It is well adapted to direct sunlight, strong winds, and harsh conditions, preferring the open sandy soils at higher elevations.
Health Ingredients In Icelandic Moss
The nutritive properties of Icelandic Moss are responsible for the health benefits of Icelandic Moss Tea
Its main chemical compounds such as 70% lichenin and isolichenan have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
In other words, a cup of Icelandic Moss tea may boost your immune system, helping you fight colds and significantly reduce the risk of illness.
The plant contains large quantities of potent polysaccharides that can help alleviate sore throats, mucus build-up, coughing, and congestion.
How do you make Icelandic Moss Tea?
Moss is used in the preparation of numerous herbal medicinal products from cough syrups, supplements, lozenges, tinctures, flavoring for alcoholic drinks, and herbal tea.
In the United States, Icelandic Moss is only allowed for use in alcohol because it dissolves the acidic polysaccharide compounds responsible for severe intestinal issues for people.
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to brew Icelandic Moss tea:
The tea is prepared by adding 1-2 tablespoons of powdered Iceland Moss to one cup of boiling water.
The mixture is then covered and allowed to steep for 10-15 minutes.
Pour the Icelandic herbal tea into your cup and add natural sweeteners to mask the bitter taste.
3 Hidden Benefits Of Icelandic Moss Tea
It’s important to remind you that the potential benefits of Icelandic Moss are still more anecdotal than factual.
More research is still needed to prove these purported therapeutic and medicinal properties.
1. Combats Coughs, Colds, and Bronchitis
Lichenan, whose common name is lichenin, is the main active ingredient in Icelandic Moss.
When boiled, this complex glucan or starch turns into a substance that resembles mucilage.
It soothes irritated mucus membranes, particularly those lining the respiratory tract and nasal passages.
Icelandic Moss tea also possesses complex polysaccharides.
These have immune-boosting effects and can be highly potent in countering catarrh (mucus build-up in the airway) and calming dry coughs.
The whole lichen acts as a powerful antibiotic that contains usnic acid and multiple lichen acids.
These can enhance respiratory system health and the body’s ability to fight viruses and bacteria.
2. Improves Digestive Health
Icelandic Moss has a bitter organic tonic action that stimulates appetite while promoting the secretion of digestive enzymes like gastric.
Besides being a highly nutritious tea, Icelandic Moss tea also increases the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
The aforementioned high mucilage content can exert a soothing action in our digestive tract and intestines.
This can help alleviate conditions such as hiatus hernia, gastric ulcers, reflux esophagitis, and the symptoms of gastritis.
Its also thought to be a helpful herbal treatment for chronic digestive disturbances.
Because it has the potency to eliminate intestinal worms and parasites gently, a cup of this herbal remedy may help treat digestive disorders caused by parasites.
3. May Relieve Vomiting
Icelandic Moss tea may be a natural remedy for vomiting.
More specifically, it is said to offer relief from vomiting caused by stomach irritation and inflammation.
It may be helpful for the low-grade stomach infections that arise from low stomach acid production.
Possible Side Effects Of Icelandic Moss Tea
Oral consumption of Iceland Moss is safe for most healthy adults when taken short term.
It may be unsafe when taken for a long time and consumed in excessive doses, primarily because dried Iceland Moss plants may be contaminated with lead.
In addition, taking Icelandic moss tea at the same time you take prescription medications by mouth may decrease their effectiveness.
You are strongly encouraged to consult your doctor before incorporating this bitter herb into your healthcare routine.
Icelandic Moss is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers!
The plant can be contaminated with heavy metals like lead, which may harm both the mother and the baby.
Iceland Moss can have adverse effects like irritating the digestive tract lining.
Hence, people with stomach, small intestines, or gastric ulcers should avoid it!
Benefits of Icelandic Moss Tea - The Bottom Line
Icelandic moss is an environmentally sensitive lichen.
It is only found in the purest regions of the world.
Using Icelandic Moss for its health benefits is one of the best ways of staying close to nature.
Not only that but it is especially good for your immune system and digestive functions.
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