Part Used: Dried tree lichen
Usnea (Usnea spp.) is a lichen, a combination of an algae and a fungus growing together. The entire lichen is used medicinally. Primarily it is used as a remedy for sore throat. In Asian medicine, Usnea is recommended for cough, headache, vaginal discharge, malaria, and eye irritation, and homeopathic practitioners prescribe it for headache and sunstroke. It contains usnic acid, which its bitter taste and also acts as an antibiotic. Usnea also contains mucilage, which can be helpful in easing irritating coughs. Usnic acid has shown effective anti-microbial activity against fungus, trichomonas protozoa, gram-positive bacteria (e.g., Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Pneumonococcus, including penicillin resistant strains), and tuberculosis bacillus. It increases resistance against colds and flu.
Usnea is an immune system tonic that can be used in acute situations as well as for long term immune enhancement and general prevention. It has no side effects or contraindications, and is safe for children and animals. It is also beneficial for women with yeast infections, trichonomosas, bacterial vaginosis, and chlamydia. It can be helpful for people with chronic fatigue, HIV, herpes, and other chronic conditions related with depressed immunity. Similarly Usnea may be used in fungus infections (e.g., candidiasis, athlete's foot, ringworm); boils; impetigo; mastitis; bronchial infections and pneumonia; sore throat or strep throat (gargle); sinus infections (diluted spray); skin and lung tuberculosis; trichomoniasis; dysentery (but not typhoid, cholera or other intestinal infections caused by gram-negative bacteria). It is found to be especially effective against urinary tract infections and upper respiratory infections.
PDR Health. http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/herbaldrugs/102810.shtml
Holistic Online. http://www.holisticonline.com/Herbal-Med/_Herbs/h322.htm
Jessica Godino, Herbal Remedies Info. http://www.herbalremediesinfo.com/usnea.html