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Thursday, 22 June 2017
 
 

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Usneaceae - Old man's beard
Usnea has been used medicinally for at least 1000 years. Usnic acid (C18H16O7), a potent antibiotic and antifungal agent is found in most species. This, combined with the hairlike structure of the lichen, means that Usnea lent itself well to treating surface wounds when sterile gauze and modern antibiotics were unavailable. It is also edible and high in vitamin C. Usnea is a lichen (part fungus, part algae) which lives throughout the northern temperate zones, especially the sub-arctic and coastal rainforest areas. Constituents and actions Because of their long tradition of use as antimicrobial agents by indigenous peoples, lichens attracted attention early on in the search for antibiotics. Clinical applications (compiled from discussions with clinical herbalists, based on empirical evidence) Medicinal Use of some species of Usnea Antifungal - effective against tinea infections such as ringworm, athletes foot and also against Candida albicans. Antiparasitic- effective against Trichomonas and Chlamydia in vaginal infections. Antibacterial - effective against gram positive bacteria in local or systemic infections Immune regulator & supporter - boosts the immune system in cases such as acute and chronic lung infections (pleurisy, TB and pneumonia, colds and flus and any other time of poor immune function.
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