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Medicinal Lichens

Indigenous Wisdom and Modern Pharmacology

Photographs by Jason Hollinger
Published by Healing Arts Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster


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About The Book

A comprehensive illustrated guide to the lichens of North America

• Explores more than 400 species of lichens, alongside full-color photos

• Shows the ways that indigenous peoples of North America have traditionally used lichens for food, clothing, dye, paint, and medicine

• Explains in detail the scientific research behind the potency of lichen chemicals to heal many human conditions

Lichens—a symbiosis of fungi, algae, bacteria, and yeast—can grow on nearly any surface and thrive in an extremely wide range of environments, from trees in old-growth forests, to hot deserts, cold polar regions, and even on the International Space Station. Used for millennia by indigenous people for food, clothing, art, and medicine, lichens are now being recognized by modern science for their unique medicinal potential against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, viruses, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

In this full-color illustrated encyclopedia, Robert Dale Rogers, RH(AHG), explores more than 400 species of North American lichens, detailing their traditional indigenous uses, mythology, chemistry, pharmacology, and possible healing applications, along with naturalist observations from the 19th and 20th centuries. He explains how lichens, along with mushrooms, molds, and yeasts, are members of the Fungi Kingdom and, surprisingly, more biologically related to humans than to plants. He looks at what types of lichens we can find in specific geographic regions and habitats and shows how lichens are an indicator species, revealing the health of their surrounding environment and neighboring life forms, including us.

Interpreting modern research on the chemistry of lichens and showing how they can be used as powerful medicines, Rogers explores their chemical constituents, detailing each lichen chemical’s healing properties, from easing coughs to inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells. He reveals how pharmacological researchers often are rediscovering the ancient wisdom of lichens long known by indigenous peoples, such as how the Navajo use dried Xanthoparmelia for impetigo caused by Streptococcus.

Showcasing the benefits as well as the beauty of lichens, this book reveals how lichens are the perfect example of strength, cooperation, and harmonious living.

About The Author

Robert Dale Rogers, RH(AHG), is an herbalist with more than 50 years of experience in clinical practice and the classroom. He is the author of more than 60 books, a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild, and on the editorial board of the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. A former clinical professor in family medicine at the University of Alberta, he lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Healing Arts Press (February 4, 2025)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9798888500248

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