Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Found: Lung moss!

I have been looking for Lung Moss (Lobaria pulmonaria) for quite some time. I first heard about it in my spinning circle. One of the older women told me how she dyes with what she called Tree Lungwort and gave me a small quantity of this lichen. I tried it and loved the color! It is the brown one in the picture.
And then the name caught my attention; I know the Lungwort and was wondering whether the Lung Moss could also be a medicinal lichen. My favorite herbal, David Hoffmann's Holistic Herbal mentions it as an expectorant, used in irritable respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis and asthma. It is specifically indicated in children's coughs. Lung moss has healing and soothing properties for the mucous tissue. On the internet I also found that it has recently been found that the lungwort lichens contain antibiotic chemicals that are effective against the kind of bacteria that cause tuberculosis and many other chest infections. I'm making it into a tincture and will try it out on either myself or a guinea pig :)
Many medicinal plants reveal their properties by how they look. Lung moss is a great example; I find an amazing similarity to the lungs. If you enlarge the photo by clicking it you can see the bronchial tubes and even the alveoli!
I found this lichen while walking along the River Findhorn. I had been looking up at the trees trunks (almost tripping several times...), knowing that the air is very pure out here and the oak trees are fairly old: the ideal conditions for Lung Moss to grow. Just when I was giving up on finding it I recognised it. I have experienced this before when I'm looking for a herb without having seen it before. When I spot it my heart jumps and I just know that this is the one! Today I will go back to the river and hopefully find more.
I don't take it from the trees, as it takes several years to grow, but collect what has fallen.
The River Findhorn is such a beautiful and magical place!

This post was shared Wildcrafting Wednesday at The Woodwife's Journal


  1. That tree should be in a fairy story!!

    We have lots of old oak trees around us, but I don't remember ever seeing this lichen. Could do with it at the moment for my husband who's suffering a bit after a cold.

    How long does the tincture take to mature?

  2. Ah - just looked at your last post on tinctures - 6 weeks! I presume it can be used immediately when you've strained it?

    1. Yes, just strain and use. I would say 10 drops, 3 times a day to start with and see what it does.

  3. Oh well, maybe next time one of us is ill. I'll have to inspect our trees.

  4. I am so glad you found a plant you had long searched for, Eveline! I know how that is, when you know it is suppose to be in your area, and you search and search. It becomes almost an obsession! lol! You were so right, the enlargement is amazing!! I too am a huge David Hoffman fan:) big hugs xx Leslie


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