A jelly is made by boiling the whole plant. It is nutritious and medicinal
. Rather bitter, it requires leaching, which can be done by changing the cooking water once or twice during the cooking process
The dried and powdered plant can be mixed with wheat and used in making bread
. It is very bitter and the process required to leach it is far too time-consuming and tedious to be countenanced
A powerful antibiotic can be obtained from the plant and this has become a fundamental ingredient in a wide range of commercially produced disinfectants
A brown dye is obtained from the plant
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
. 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
. Iceland moss has both a demulcent and a bitter tonic effect within the gut - a combination almost unique amongst medicinal herbs
The whole plant is strongly antibiotic, antiemetic, strongly demulcent, galactogogue, nutritive and tonic
. 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
. Externally, it is used in the treatment of boils, vaginal discharges and impetigo
. The plant can be harvested as required throughout the year
, preferably during dry weather, and can also be dried for later use
. Use with caution
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.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Cetraria islandica. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
There is no known information on the cultivation of this plant
. It requires clean air and is very intolerant of atmospheric pollution so cannot be grown in towns
. 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.
This plant is often used in commercially produced disinfectants
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Cetraria islandica. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Cetraria islandica.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? 1.01.1 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (1974-00-00)
? 2.02.1 Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds. Pivot Health (1973-00-00)
? 3.03.13.23.188.8.131.52 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
? 4.04.1 Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
? 5.05.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
? 6.06.16.26.36.46.5 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
? 7.07.17.27.37.47.5 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
? 8.08.18.28.184.108.40.206 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
? 9.09.19.29.39.49.5 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
? 10.010.110.2 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
? 11.011.111.2 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
? 12.012.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
? 13.013.113.213.313.4 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)