This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
COMMON NAME. Bitter Candy Tuft.
Description and History. -- Iceland Moss is a perennial, foliaceous plant from two to four inches high; a native of Britain and the northern countries of Europe, particularly Iceland. It is diversified in its color, being brownish or grayish-white in some parts, and of a reddish hue in others. It is without odor, with a mucilaginous, bitter, somewhat astringent taste, and when dry the lichen is crisp, cartilaginous, and coriaceous, and is convertible into a grayish-white powder. It swells up on water, absorbing more than its own weight of that fluid, and communicating a portion of its bitterness to it, as well as a little mucilage; when long chewed it is converted into a mucilaginous pulp, and when boiled in water the decoction becomes a firm jelly on cooling.
Properties and Uses. -- It is demulcent, tonic, and nutritious. Used as a demulcent in chronic catarrh, chronic dysentery, and diarrhoea, and as a tonic in dyspepsia, convalescence, and exhausting diseases. Boiled with milk it forms an excellent nutritive and tonic in phthisis and general debility. Its tonic virtues depend upon its cetrarin, which, if removed renders the lichen merely nutritious.