A light green lichen found on the branches or trunks of trees. Oakmoss has bactericidal, expectorant, laxative and sedative effects, is used in medicine, perfumery and household.
How to recognize?
Oakmoss (Evernia prunastri) resembles a bush up to 3 cm long. Branches (lobes) up to 3 cm long, flattened. The surface of the lobes is uneven - it is covered like a net.
How to distinguish Oakmoss from ramalina? Note the color of the leaf. The leaves of Ramalinia are the same color all over, but the Oakmoss is gray-green or yellow-green on top, white on the bottom, with “flourish” dotted sorrels along the edges.
Oakmoss is often found on trunks and branches of various species of deciduous trees, less often on fences. Tolerates moderate pollution.
This lichen is collected in April or September, dried in a well-ventilated place away from sunlight. When stacked on a paper base in a layer not more than 7 cm. Or in special dryers not exceeding 60C.
Oakmoss is often used in perfumery. On the basis of this lichen, soap, absolute (dark green, aromatic solution) is made, from which lotions, gels and shampoos are made. Essential oils of linden are included in elite perfumery. Lichen extract or resinoid has a subtle woody aroma. It is used as a fixative for other aromas or as a freshener. Oakmoss adds stability to the perfume, giving it an earth-forest aroma.
Due to the shortage of Oakmoss , European perfumery manufacturers collect a similar lichen, Pseudoevernia furfuracea, and wood lichen extracts can also be obtained from it. This extract, to some extent, is able to replace Oakmoss extracts. The only difference is that bran pseudovernia extract has a resinous smell.
As a result of the research that investigated the composition of Oakmoss oil, about 80 valuable substances were found in it. It includes wax, fats, resins, polyphenolic acids (evernine, usnic acid, atranorin, chloratranorin), volatile ethers, pigments (chlorophylls).
It contains fatty substances, waxes and resins, mucilaginous substances, evernic acid and its volatile ethers. Under the influence of ethyl alcohol, the acids break down to ordinary phenolic acids, partially etherify, forming complex ethereal substances with their characteristic woody aromas. Alpha and beta thujones, borneol, gums, vanillin, citronellol, heraniol, 1,8-cineole, naphthalene and lactones have also been found in this lichen.
According to pharmacological studies, the sodium salts of usnic acid for this lichen have a bactericidal and bacteriostatic effect - against staphylococci, streptococci and subtilis bacteria. Usnic acid is an effective antibiotic in the treatment of tetanus and various dermatological diseases.
An infusion of distilled alcohol is an effective remedy for colds, especially for angina. Oakmoss contains phytoncides, which are able to remove inflammation on the skin, and are also effective in the case of fungi. Tanning substances found in lichen have a toning effect on skin cells. Therefore, Oakmoss is often found in various shampoos, because thanks to the lichen, it will strengthen the roots of the hair and restore the keratin layer of the hair.
Application in folk medicine
This lichen has been used in folk medicine since ancient times. Oakmoss has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, expectorant, healing and mild laxative properties.
Oakmoss essential oil is used by folk healers in the treatment of colds. The oil is effective against whooping cough, improves appetite, helps with nervous system disorders (stressful situations, neuroses) - acts as a sedative. Thanks to its bactericidal properties, it is used to heal wounds, ulcers and to clean wounds from pus. The oil is useful for inflammation of the skin and mycosis of the feet.
Oakmoss teas have been known in folk medicine for a long time because they have an antibiotic effect on the body. Lichen decoction is widely used in thyroid diseases.
The face was washed with lichen decoction, due to its tonic properties. They also washed their hair to nourish the hair roots and improve their growth.
Who should not use Oakmoss?
Oakmoss should be used with extreme caution in dosage, as it is a strong allergen and may cause hives. This also applies to perfumes containing this lichen. Of course, it should be noted that it is not recommended for pregnant and lactating mothers.