Yet another highly effective herb for sore throats: Icelandic moss is full of nutrients and has been used for eons

Sore throat is the dry, scratchy feeling in the throat can be annoyingly painful. Throughout the years, people have come up with natural ways on how to treat it — from using honey and lemon to gargling salt water, and now even moss. A new study reveals that the plant, particularly Icelandic moss, is extremely effective for treating sore throats, according to The Daily Mail.

Researchers at the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University conducted a randomized placebo-controlled experiment in 61 patients with a sore throat. Previous studies showed that Icelandic moss is more effective when mixed with mallow, another natural ingredient used to treat sore throats and dry coughs.

Initially, only 12 percent of the patients had a healthy throat lining, yet after taking the Icelandic moss and mallow lozenges for five days, the rate of patients with a healthy throat lining increased to 71 percent. Results showed that Icelandic moss in lozenge form eased symptoms, such as dry, sore throat and sore hoarseness.

Moreover, the same study, published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Therapy, also studied 75 children with a sore throat and dry cough. Results showed that there was a 60 percent improvement of a dry cough.

“The therapy was deemed to be very good (67 percent) or good (75 percent) by physicians and parents or children — and more than 90 percent tolerated it very well,” the researchers wrote.

The combination of Icelandic moss and mallow covers the throat with a protective film that soothes the passageway, calms a dry cough, and prevents bacteria and viruses from penetrating. The two herbs were also discovered to help ease coughs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that about 86 percent of adults and children with a sore throat and/or laryngitis benefited from the combination of Icelandic moss and mallow lozenges. According to the scientists, these findings provide a natural alternative and give new hope to parents of school children. School children are prone to about 10 upper respiratory tract infections, such as couch, cold, and sore throat, every year. This herb is a safer option for treating sore throats than paracetamol,  which can potentially cause kidney, liver, and heart damage in children. (Related: Sore Throat? Antibiotics Useless and Dangerous in Most Cases.)

Icelandic moss and mallow

Icelandic moss, also known as Cetraria islandica, is actually a lichen, which is a moss-like plant, that grows in mountains, forests, and arctic areas. This plant is packed with minerals such as calcium, iodine, potassium, phosphorus, and different vitamins. It tastes bitter and smells like seaweed when it is damp. It has been used for centuries as a food source and a natural remedy for different conditions in Scandinavia and Europe.

On the other hand, mallow or Althaea officinalis is a plant from Africa that has short roundish leaves and small pale flowers. This plant is known to relieve sore throats and dry coughs.

The leaves and flowers of mallow have polysaccharides with antitussive, mucilaginous, and antibacterial properties. Its mucilaginous properties cover the tissues in the mouth and throat similar to a balm, while its antitussive effects aid in the reduction of dry cough and prevention of further irritation.Its root extract can also decrease the frequency and intensity of a cough.

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