It is called deer lichen for one reason - it is used in food by reindeer - for health purposes.
Deer lichen is mainly used against various problems of the respiratory system - upper respiratory tract, tuberculosis, asthma, it will also help well in case of gastrointestinal tract problems and colds. There are cases when it is used to treat varicose veins and thrombophlebitis.
The side effects that can be caused by the use of this lichen have not yet been fully determined. However, it is known that it can cause an allergic reaction to one of its components, individual intolerance is also possible. This lichen should not be used by pregnant and lactating mothers. If you have any insecurity about its use, then it is best not to use it or to consult a specialist.
How to recognize it?
This lichen is up to 8 cm high, light gray, abundantly branched, the branches are usually 4 in total and their tips are reddish brown. The characteristic feature - most of the twigs are pointed in the same direction, the color of the twigs is greenish-grey. Cover the ground cover!
Deer lichen is rich in organic matter, vitamin A and B vitamins. It is suitable for restoring skin tone, strengthening and nourishing it. Stabilizes the circulation of amino acids and will help restore skin layers. Due to the fact that this lichen contains a large amount of unique Usnic acid (it does not have a Latvian translation 'Usnic acid'), this lichen strongly affects cell regeneration, reduces aging processes, improves skin structure and restores skin elasticity.
Deer lichen is collected throughout the summer after the rains and then it is dried. Practically, any lichen is difficult to collect in dry weather, as it becomes brittle and loose. Properly dried lichen can be stored for an unlimited time, as it does not particularly lose its properties and is not prone to decay and deterioration. If necessary, lichen can be harvested throughout the year - its effectiveness will differ, but it will still be possible to achieve the effect!
The chemical composition
Deer lichen consists of 21% dietary fiber, free fat, triglycerides, hex alpha-hydroxyisovalerate, ribitol; for hydrocarbon compounds: n-alkanes, anteiso-alkanes, methyl heptadecanes. Finns determined that deer lichen contains 2-3.2% protein, 6.4% fiber, 1.4-3.3% fat, 0.4-1 .8% sugar; When tested in Russia, deer lichen was found to contain an average of 1.5% sugar, 18.8% lichenin, 59.7% hemicellulose and 3.9% cellulose, I-usnic acid 1.1%. Deer lichen, like other lichens, synthesizes specific secondary metabolites, the so-called lichen substances (the most common usnic acid and other classes of depsides and depsinoids), which are classified as phenolic compounds.
Deer lichen is considered a valuable medicinal lichen from which usonic acid can be obtained. Usnic acid is effective against most gram-positive (G+) bacteria, including multidrug-resistant (stable) antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, enterococcus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Usnic acid, which is obtained from deer lichen, is effective even against mutated forms of streptococcus, without causing side effects, negatively affecting the oral saprophyte microflora.
Deer lichen has a strong antibacterial and antifungal effect; preparations containing usnic acid are widely used in the fight against tuberculosis microbacteria, including those that are resistant to antibiotics.
Also, usnic acid is credited with strong preservative and UV light-reducing properties.
Application in folk medicine
In folk medicine, deer lichen is widely used due to its properties and the presence of usnic acid. A decoction is made from it when a person has frostbite or has cooled down a bit in the cold. It is used to treat tuberculosis, its decoctions are used to wash non-healing scars and apply compresses to burns.
The easiest way to make deer lichen:
- 2 teaspoons of dried deer lichen,
- 2 glasses of cold water.
Pour water over the lichen and let it boil on a slow fire - until the moment when the water "hits" a bubble, it is immediately filtered and left to infuse until a jelly-like drink forms. (Deer lichen was used in the past instead of starch to boil jelly). This jelly-like mass is used often and in large portions, depending on the illness. You should drink an average of 1-2 liters per day!
When treating tuberculosis, such a decoction is used for a long period of time, 3-4 liters per day!
It is not recommended to use deer lichen if you are allergic to it, because a large amount of decoction is needed to achieve the effect, which an allergic person will not tolerate. However, using it in minimal doses will make sense only for a long-term course, as a general immune system stimulant, in a mixture with other herbs.
Attention! Deer lichen is widely available but very tender, please do not disturb the stand when harvesting! We take no more than 1/10 of each square meter and leave the rest. Second, let's take it within the limits of common sense, if you dry this plant and store it properly, it will last for a long time and will not spoil; after tasting it, after its bitter taste, you will not use it as an everyday tea.