Cretaria, or Lichen Islandica.—It belongs to the class of Lichens. It is a parasite, growing upon the trunks and branches of trees. It is found abundantly in Iceland, and also in Northern Europe, and amid the higher mountains of North Britain. It is generally sold by Druggists in a dried state. The taste is bitter and unpleasant. The Icelanders use it as an article of food, and denominate it "the gift of a bountiful providence, affording them bread out of the very stones." Its preparation is by repeated steepings in cold water, drying, and powdering, after which it is made into cakes, or boiled in milk. Washing, of course, deteriorates its tonic properties, though it may retain a part, and all its demulcent and nutritive properties.

Its medicinal virtues in consumption have been highly com­mended, perhaps too much so; yet it is unquestionably of much service in catarrhal consumption, which has its seat in the windpipe and its terminations. It allays the tickling cough, relieves the oppressed breathing, arrests the hective fever, strengthens the digestive organs, it has a soothing influence on the bronchi, and helps to sustain the system by the nutrition which it contains. It may be administered by decoction, by 1 or 2 ounces in a quart of water till it becomes a jelly, adding sugar, and straining. A wineglassful may be taken twice or thrice a day either alone or mixed with milk. Olasson asserts that a soup made with the meal or powder is twice as nutritious as that prepared with flour.

Important Disclaimer:   The information contained on this web site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. Any information presented is not a substitute for professional medical advice and should not take the place of any prescribed medication. Please do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consultation with your physician.

This page and the rest of the encyclopedia of medicinal herbs was reproduced from old herbals written in the 1700 and 1800s. They are of historical interest to show the traditional uses of various herbs based on folk medicine and ancient wisdom. However the traditional uses for these herbs have not been confirmed by medical science and in some cases may actually be dangerous. Do not use the these herbs for any use, medicinal or otherwise, without first consulting a qualified doctor.

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