The lichen, Sticta Pulmonaria, Linné (Lobaria Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria reticulata, Lichen pulmonarius).
COMMON NAMES: Lungwort lichen, Lungmoss, Tree lungwort, Oak lungwort.
Botanical Source and History.—This lichen grows upon tree trunks, and is leafy, laciniated, smooth, and obtuse, green on the upper surface, pitted, and somewhat reticulated. On the under surface it is downy. The shields are mostly marginal. The whole lichen is somewhat coriaceous and cartilaginous. This lichen is found upon the trunks of large trees and upon rocks in England and in this country, especially in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas, being found mostly in mountainous districts. The Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia directs a tincture of that growing upon Acer saccharinum, or Sugar maple. The drug used is imported from Europe, none of consequence being collected in this country. Sticta makes a dark-brown colored tincture. According to Knop and Schnedermann (1847), the bitter principle contained in this lichen is stictic acid, allied to cetraric acid from Iceland moss.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Sticta is a remedy for pain and cough. It acts upon the base of the brain and the vagus, and parts supplied by that nerve, relieving irritation. When its specific indications are followed it proves a very important remedy, and it is one that is frequently neglected. "Pain in shoulders, back of the neck, and extending to the occiput," were the indications long ago pointed out by Prof. Scudder with whom the remedy was a favorite. Atonic troubles are those in which it does the best work. With the above-named guides to its selection it will be found useful to reduce elevated temperature, due to irritation, and when pain and cough are due to irritation of the vagus they are controlled by it. "Cough, associated with pain in the shoulders or in the extrinsic respiratory muscles," is also relieved by sticta. The sticta pulse is soft but has a peculiar wiry thrill. With such a pulse it will have a good effect in disturbed heart-action. Sticta is a remedy for rheumatism, when in the shoulders or chest walls, or in the smaller joints, being in all cases associated with cervical and occipital pain. It is a good remedy for muscular pain in the regions mentioned when accompanying catarrhal fever and epidemic influenza. By far the most general employment of sticta is in irritative coughs whether acute or chronic. With the cough there are, besides the cervical and occipital pain, dull pains in the chest, increased upon taking a deep breath, and a sense of soreness like that from a bruise or muscular over-exertion. When such irritation and cough is present it will sometimes check chills, hectic fever, and night-sweats in confirmed phthisis (Scudder). Prof. Webster confines its action in cough to the upper tracheal region. The sticta cough is wheezing, rasping, dry, and persistent, and comes on mostly, according to Webster, during the dusty months of July and August. He finds it particularly valuable in hay fever and summer influenza with the point of irritation in the upper part of the trachea. Others have found it of special value in the irritating, persistent, and exhaustive cough of phthisis, bronchitis, laryngitis, and in whooping-cough, croupal cough, and catarrhal asthma. Ellingwood speaks of its value in sharp hacking cough, especially that occurring in the early part of the year and in wheezing, tight cough, with sharp quick pain in the respiratory tract. Sticta is also useful in chronic nasal catarrh with reflex irritation, and stands conspicuous as a remedy for la grippe, with free nasal discharge of hot, watery mucus, subsequently becoming thick, yellow, greenish, or bloody. Sticta has cured sick headache when the characteristic indications were present, and Dr. Scudder used it with success in scarlet fever, with occipital pain. The dose of specific sticta is from a fraction of a drop to 10 drops; of the powder (seldom employed), 1 to 10 grains.
Specific Indications and Uses.—"Pain in the shoulders, back of neck, and extending to the occiput." Soreness and dull pain in chest or extrinsic respiratory muscles, increasing by a deep breath; irritation of base of brain and parts supplied by the pneumogastric nerve; irritative cough; cough persistent, dry, rasping, wheezing, or short, hacking, with quick darting pains in chest-walls, rheumatism involving the muscles and smaller joints; hay-fever with headache; catarrhal disorders with frontal tension, sneezing, coryza, and conjunctivitis.