Usnea Tincture

Usnea barbata or Old man’s Beard is a lichen with a long history of being used in herbal medicine. We chose to come out with it as a tincture looking at it as a great anti-bacterial especially for respiratory infections. Our tincture is extracted with organic cane alcohol which is then boiled off (as much as possible while retaining potency) and then organic glycerin is added. Most tinctures on the market are extracted by non-organic grain based alcohol (many from GMO corn ethanol) or just with glycerin, which generally makes a weaker product.

There are a number of active constituents found in us- nea including those with antimicrobial, anti-oxidant and polyphenolic properties. It is most well known for treating certain types of infections, including those affecting the throat, respiratory tract, mouth, skin and urinary tract

Studies have shown it to be effective against strep, staph and mycobacteria species as well as other gram positive (and some gram negative bacteria), including drug resistant ones (1,2). It has shown anti candida properties as well (3). In Germany it has been approved to treat oral and pharyngeal inflammation (4) and is used for colds, influenza, pneumonia etc. It is some- times added to cosmetics and deodorants due to its antibacterial and antifungal effects (5).

The crude extracts of usnic acid rich lichens (e.g., Usnea species) have been used throughout the world to treat various ailments, such as pulmonary tuberculosis, pain, fever, wounds, athlete’s foot, and other dermal lesions (6,7,8,9).

The first recorded use of the Usnea species in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dates to 101 B.C., when it was used as an antimicrobial agent under the Chinese name of Song Lo (10).

Usnic acid, a main constituent, exhibited a significant inhibitory effect against the pathogenic protozoan Trichornonas vaginalis at comparatively lower concen- trations than metronidazole (11) .

Usnea has also been shown to interfere with biofilm formation and quorum sensing (12).

Dosage- adult dose is 10-30 drops 3x/day. For children dose according to weight (for example a 75 pound child 5-8 drops 3x/day or 3-5 drops for 25 pound child ). It is recommended to take it for up to 2 week duration and then take a break due to its strong effects.

Consult your physician during pregnancy and nursing.

1. Stephen Harrod Buhner (2012). Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria. pp. 196-206.

2. Behera, Verma, Sonone, Makhija (January, 2006). "Determination of antioxidative potential of lichen Usnea ghattensis in vitro"

3. Cabrera, C. (1996). "Materia Medica - Usnea spp.". European Journal of Herbal Medicine 2 (2): 11–13. ISSN 1352-4755
4. Mark Blumenthal, ed. (1998). "Usnea". The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Austin, Texas: American Botanical Council. p. 224.[5} "Usnea: Using Usnic Acid as a Fish Remedy for Tumors and More”, Aquarium Pond Answers.
5. Ash, Michael; Irene Ash (2004). "Lichen (Usnea barbata) extract". Handbook of Preservatives. Synapse Info Resources. p. 437.

6. Ingolfsdottir K. Usnic acid. Phytochemistry. 2002;61:729–736.

7. Cocchietto M, Skert N, Nimis PL, Sava G. A review on usnic acid, an interesting natural compound. Naturwissenschaften. 2002;89:137–146.

8. Okuyama E, Umeyama K, Yamazaki M, Kinoshita Y, Yamamoto Y. Usnic acid and diffractaic acid as analgesic and antipyretic components of Usnea diffracta. Planta Med. 1995;61:113–115.

9. Vartia KO. The Lichens. New York: Academic Press; 1973. Antibiotics in lichens; pp. 547–561.

10. Frankos VH. NTP nomination for usnic acid and Usnea barbata. 2004

11. Fournet A, Ferreira ME, Rojas dA, Torres dO, Inchausti A, Yaluff G, Quilhot W, Fernandez E, Hidalgo ME. Activity of compounds isolated from Chilean lichens against experimental cutaneous leishmaniasis. Comp Biochem Physiol C Pharmacol Toxicol Endocrinol. 1997;116:51–54

12. 32. Francolini I, Norris P, Piozzi A, Donelli G, Stoodley P. Usnic acid, a natural antimicrobial agent able to inhibit bacterial biofilm formation on polymer surfaces. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2004;48:4360–4365