Usnea (Usnea lapponcia) is a wispy little lichen that doesn’t look like much. But, in the medical lab it has demonstrated its strength!
Usnic acid, the main constituent of Usnea, has been extensively studied as an antibiotic that inhibits 16 known gram-positive bacteria. Both the resistant and non-resistant strains, these include streptococcus, staphylococcus, and mycobacteria. This lichen is concentrated in a tincture so it can be used for acute and chronic lung infections, such as pneumonia, colds and flu, and as an adjunct to tuberculosis (TB) treatment.
How does it work? Usnea appears to kill bacteria by disrupting their metabolic function, cutting off energy supply to the cells. Unlike bacterial cells, human cells are less permeable to usnic acid and are not adversely affected.
Did you know? Usnic acid is a compound found in lichens. It is used as a preservative in moisturizing creams, and as an ingredient in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and deodorants because of its antibacterial properties.
It’s rare to find plants like this that have been studied so thoroughly. So let’s give Usnea the top shelf rating it deserves!
Noteworthy: Usnea is sensitive to air pollution, especially sulfur dioxide, a by-product from combustion of petroleum and coal. The Usnea harvested for this tincture is from a pristine area, at an altitude of 5,000 feet, isolated from sulfur dioxide pollution.
photo credit: Botanical Blessings Organization
More Blog Posts…