Folk Charela black var

Action ► A food and tonic in convalescence and exhausting diseases. Used for chronic catarrh and bronchitis.

Key application ► In irritation of the oral and pharyngeal mucous membrane and accompanying dry cough. (German Commission E, ESCOP.) As demulcent. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.) As a bitter remedy for lack of appetite. (ESCOP.)

The moss contains lichen acids (dep-sidones); mainly cetraric, protoce-traric, fumarprotocetraric, lichesteric and usnic acids; polysaccharides about 50%—lichenin 40% and isolichenin 10%; also furan derivatives, fatty acid lactones and terpenes. Lichenin is a moss-starch. Demulcent, expectorant and antiemetic properties are due mainly to the polysaccharides.

The usnic acid and protolichesteri-nic acid in the lichen and its crude, aqueous extract showed antibacterial activity against several pathogenic bacteria.

Contraindicated in gastric or duodenal ulcers due to its mucosa irritating properties. (Sharon M. Herr.)

Lozenges containing 160 mg of an aqueous extract of Iceland moss, were determined to be positive in 86% cases with good gastric tolerance. (ESCOP 1997.)

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