Cetraria islandica health benefit

Cetraria islandica (Iceland moss) has been used for centuries in folk medicine in many countries against a number of conditions, including inflammatory conditions, mainly as an aqueous extract. The traditional use of Cetraria islandica (Iceland moss) is for relief of gastric and duodenal ulcer.

In vitro and in vivo immunomodulating effects of traditionally prepared extract and purified compounds from Cetraria islandica.
Int Immunopharmacol. 2008 Mar;8(3):423-30. Freysdottir J, Omarsdottir S, Ingólfsdóttir K, Vikingsson A, Olafsdottir ES. Centre for Rheumatology Research, Landspitali University Hospital, IS-101 Reykjavik, Iceland; Department of Immunology, Landspitali University Hospital, IS-101 Reykjavik, Iceland.
Human monocyte-derived immature dendritic cells were cultured with an aqueous extract from C. islandica quantified with regard to the polysaccharides lichenan and isolichenan and secondary metabolites protolichesterinic and fumarprotocetraric acids. The purified compounds were also tested individually. Their effect on the maturation of the dendritic cells was assessed by measuring secretion of IL-10 and IL-12p40 and expression of surface molecules. In addition, the effect of the aqueous extract on antigen-induced arthritis in rats was investigated. The aqueous extract caused upregulated secretion of both IL-10 and IL-12p40, with IL-10 secretion being more prominent. Lichenan had similar effects, whereas isolichenan and the secondary metabolites were inactive, suggesting that the effect observed by the aqueous extract was mainly mediated by lichenan. Significantly less arthritis was observed for rats treated by the aqueous extract, administered subcutaneously, compared with rats treated with saline alone. These results suggest that the aqueous extract of C. islandica has anti-inflammatory effect, possibly by changing the cytokine secretion bias from IL-12p40 towards IL-10.

C. islandica contains many compounds, such as polysaccharides and secondary metabolites, some of which have established biological activity. Protolichesterinic acid is an aliphatic alpha-methylene-gamma-lactone. A branched galactomannan polysaccharide.

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