Lungmoss, scientifically known as Lobaria pulmonaria, is a green lichen that looks like a leaf. Lichen are organisms that are part algae and part fungus.
The species is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. In the United States, it thrives along the western coastline from central California to Alaska. Lungmoss typically grows on mossy rocks, trees, and decaying wood in humid forests.
The lichen is called “lungmoss” because it looks like lung tissue. It’s also known as:
- Lichen pulmonarius
- lung lichen
- tree lungwort
Some believe lungmoss can treat lung issues because it looks like a lung. It’s been used for conditions like pneumonia or asthma, but these medicinal properties haven’t been proven by science.
There’s some evidence that lungmoss may have other benefits. Still, the research on lungmoss is lacking in general, so it’s best to use caution when trying this herbal remedy.
Also, lungmoss is different from Pulmonaria officinalis, a flowering plant that’s also called lungwort. The two are often confused.
To learn more about the purported benefits and uses of lungmoss, read on.
There isn’t a lot of research on the medicinal effects of lungmoss. Most of the alleged benefits are anecdotal.
Currently, the available science suggests that lungmoss may do the following.
Support neurological health
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. Low levels are associated with Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that causes dementia.
Protecting acetylcholine can help treat Alzheimer’s disease. This may be done by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine.
According to a 2012 lab study, lungmoss may inhibit AChE. The effect is due to depsidones, which are compounds specifically found in lichen.
However, more recent human research is necessary to confirm the use of lungmoss for neurological health.
Some animal studies suggest that lungmoss has anti-inflammatory properties.
Despite these findings, it’s unclear if lungmoss has the same benefits for humans. Additional research is required.
Many of the alleged benefits of lungmoss lack scientific evidence.
There’s no proof that lungmoss can treat:
- sore throat
- chronic coughing
- lung disease
- difficulty breathing
- lack of sweating
- urinary tract infection
- itchy eyes
There’s also no evidence that lungmoss can prevent or treat coronavirus (COVID-19), although some claim this online.
If you believe you or someone else may have COVID-19, call a doctor and schedule a phone or video appointment right away. Don’t go to an emergency room or your doctor’s office, as the virus may spread to others.
According to anecdotal reports, lungmoss is considered to be safe. Yet, researchers haven’t studied its safety, so the potential side effects are unclear.
Any herbal remedy can cause an adverse reaction. If you’re interested in trying lungmoss, use caution.
This is especially important if you:
- are taking prescription medicine
- are taking other herbal remedies
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- have underlying conditions
Talk to a healthcare provider before using lungmoss.
Lungmoss is traditionally used in several ways. It can be taken as:
The lichen is available as capsules, which are taken directly by mouth.
Keep in mind that herbal supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There’s no organization that controls the safety, quality, and effectiveness of lungmoss supplements.
Always follow the package’s instructions for dosage and frequency.
A lungmoss tincture is an alcohol-based liquid that’s been infused with lungmoss. The tincture comes with a dropper, which you use to place a drop of liquid on your mouth.
Like supplements, tinctures lack regulation. Be sure to read the directions on the label.
People also use lungmoss as a tea. Again, use caution and follow the product’s instructions.
You can buy lungmoss by itself or in prepared products. However, you likely won’t find it at your local grocery store or pharmacy.
The following retailers may sell lungmoss products:
- herbal pharmacies
- specialty health markets
- online herbal stores
Lungmoss, also called lungwort or lung lichen, is an herbal remedy that’s believed to support the lungs. It can allegedly treat conditions like pneumonia or tuberculosis, but these effects lack scientific proof.
This remedy is available as capsules and tinctures. The dried form can also be used to make tea. The potential risks of lungmoss haven’t been studied, so use caution. Talk to a doctor before taking lungmoss, especially if you have preexisting conditions.