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Known interactions

No interactions found.

On-line Oak Lungs

Scientific Name: Lobaria pulmonaria

Other Names: Lungmoss, Oak Lungs

Who is this for?

Note: Lobaria pulmonaria is sometimes called “lungwort”; a name more often used for a completely different herbal product made from a plant called Lobaria officinalis. These two products have different uses; they should not be confused.

Traditionally, Lobaria pulmonaria has been used to treat respiratory conditions ranging from minor coughs to tuberculosis. Chemicals in Lobaria pulmonaria may have a soothing effect on irritated lung tissue when Lobaria pulmonaria is taken orally. It is also thought to be mildly effective in thinning mucus and promoting mucus removal from the nose and lungs. Additionally, Lobaria pulmonaria may have some antibiotic properties. All of these effects may make it useful for treating conditions of the respiratory tract, but more effective prescription and non-prescription products are available currently.

In animal studies, Lobaria pulmonaria has shown both anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer effects. Inflammation is a response to irritation, injury, or infection. It usually includes pain, redness, and swelling in the area of the damage and it can occur within body tissues as well as on the surface of the skin. Much more research is needed to prove or disprove these effects.

When should I be careful taking it?

No absolute prohibitions or precautions on the use of Lobaria pulmonaria are reported in scientific literature. Since so little is known about it and its possible effects, however, its use is not recommended.

What side effects should I watch for?

No side effects have been associated with using Lobaria pulmonaria. Because few reliable studies of its use have been conducted in humans, however, it may have side effects that are not yet known. If you experience unexplained side effects while taking Lobaria pulmonaria, you should stop taking it and tell your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects.

What interactions should I watch for?

No interactions between lobaria pulmonaria and prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, other herbal products, or foods have been reported. However, because few reliable studies of lobaria pulmonaria have been conducted in humans, its possible interactions are not understood completely.

Some interactions between herbal products and medications can be more severe than others. The best way for you to avoid harmful interactions is to tell your doctor and/or pharmacist what medications you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter products, vitamins, and herbals.

Should I take it?

Lobaria pulmonaria is a member of the lichen family. Lichens are fungus plants that grow together with algae — usually on trees or rocks. Lobaria pulmonaria is a large, flat, greenish or brown lichen that vaguely resembles oak leaves. It grows on broad-leaf trees, especially oaks, in cool, mountainous regions of Africa, Australia, Europe, and North America. Its spongy texture and many-lobed appearance reminded ancient healers of the human lungs, so it was used widely to treat respiratory ailments such as asthma and coughs. Today, Lobaria pulmonaria is relatively rare – an endangered species in many parts of the world.

To be used in herbal and homeopathic medicine, the whole lichen is dried and crumbled into light-brown flakes. It may also be powered and made into tablets or capsules. Dried Lobaria can be steeped in hot water for a tea or it can be made into a liquid extract when soaked in alcohol.

Dosage and Administration

No recommendations for dosing amounts or intervals are available in the scientific literature. If Lobaria pulmonaria is used, the directions on the package that is purchased should be followed.

Summary

Lobaria pulmonaria may have a slight relaxing effect on the lungs and it also seems to make mucus less thick and sticky. It has been taken orally for asthma, bronchitis, and coughing.

Risks

No absolute prohibitions are placed on the use of Lobaria pulmonaria. Since so little is known about it, however, using it is not recommended.

Side Effects

Even though no side effects have been reported with the use of Lobaria pulmonaria, so little is known about it that its use is not recommended.

Interactions

No interactions have been reported between Lobaria pulmonaria and prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, other herbal supplements, or foods.

However, because few reliable studies of Lobaria pulmonaria have been conducted, its possible interactions with drugs, foods, and other dietary supplements are not understood completely. Be sure that your doctor and pharmacist are aware of all the prescription and non-prescription medicines you take before you begin to use Lobaria pulmonaria or any other herbal supplement.

References

Adler M. Efficacy and safety of a fixed-combination homeopathic therapy for sinusitis. Advances in Therapeutics. 1999;16(2):103-111.

Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products. The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products. Veterinary Medicines Evaluation Unit. Lobaria pulmonaria. Summary report. August 1999. Available at:http://www.emea.eu.int/pdfs/vet/mrls/067299en.pdf. Accessed December 13, 2002.

Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, eds. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc;2000.

Haughton C. Sticta pulmonaria (Hook). No date given. Available at: http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/lungwort.htm. Accessed: December 13, 2002.

Jellin JM, Gregory P, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al, eds. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 3rd Edition. Stockton CA: Therapeutic Research Facility, 2000.

Scheidegger C, Walser J.-C, Werth S. et al. Regional population differentiation in Lobaria pulmonaria and its implication for conservation strategies. Presented at The 5th IAL Symposium. Lichens in Focus. Tartu, Estonia. August 16–21, 2004.

Suleyman H, Odabasoglu F, Aslan A, Cakir A, Karagoz Y, Gocer F, Halici M, Bayir Y. Anti-inflammatory and antiulcerogenic effects of the aqueous extract of Lobaria pulmonaria (L.) Hoffm. Phytomedicine. 2003;10(6-7):552-557.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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