Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Sticta pulmonaria (LINT.)
Family: N.O. Lichenes

Synonyms: Jerusalem Cowslip. Oak Lungs. Lung Moss.
Part Used: Herb.

Lungwort, a member of the Borage tribe, is found in woods and thickets, but is not common, and is by some only regarded as an escape from gardens, where it is cultivated now mostly for the sake of its ornamental leaves, which are curiously spotted with white.

Description: The stem grows about a foot high, bearing rough, alternate, egg-shaped leaves, the lower ones stalked, and the flowers in a terminal inflorescence, red before expanding and pale purple when fully open.

The leaves of this plant, which are the part that has been used in medicine, have no peculiar smell, but when fresh have a slight astringent and mucilaginous taste, hence they have been supposed to be demulcent and pectoral, and have been used in coughs and lung catarrhs in the form of an infusion.

Its popular and Latin names seem to have been derived from the speckled appearance of the leaves resembling that of the lungs, and their use in former days was partly founded on the doctrine of signatures.

The Lungwort sold by druggists to-day is not this species, but a Moss, known also as Oak Lungs and Lung Moss.

The Lungwort formerly held a place in almost every garden, under the name of 'Jerusalem Cowslip'; and it was held in great esteem for its reputed medicinal qualities in diseases of the lungs. Sir J. E. Smith says that: 'every part of the plant is mucilaginous, but its reputation for coughs arose not from this circumstance, but from the speckled appearance of the leaves, resembling the lungs!' Medicinal Action and Uses: An infusion of 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb to a cup of boiling water is taken several times a day for subduing inflammation, and for its healing effect in pulmonary complaints.

Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm.