Skip to content

Find a Vitamin or Supplement

USNEA

Other Names:

Acide Usnique, Barba de Capuchino, Barbe de Jupiter, Barbe de Saint Antoine, Beard Moss, Mousse d’Arbre, Musgo de los Arboles, Old Man's Beard, Sodium Usniate, Tree Moss, Tree's Dandruff, Usnea barbata, Usnea florida, Usnea hirta, Usnea Lichen, ...
See All Names

USNEA Overview
USNEA Uses
USNEA Side Effects
USNEA Interactions
USNEA Dosing
USNEA Overview Information

Usnea is a type of lichen that grows on trees. Though lichens appear to be single plants, they are really a combination of fungus and algae that grow together for their mutual benefit. Lichens grow in colorful, flat patches. Usnea may be whitish, reddish, or black. The plant body of usnea is used to make medicine.

Usnea is used for weight loss, pain relief, fever control, and wound healing; and to make phlegm easier to cough up.

Usnea is also used directly on the skin for sore mouth and throat.

Don’t confuse usnea with oak moss (Evernia prunastri). Both usnea and oak moss are sometimes referred to as tree moss.

How does it work?

Usnea contains ingredients that are thought to fight germs that might cause infections. It also might decrease inflammation, pain, and fever.

USNEA Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. Early research suggests that applying a specific product (Zeta N, Bergamon Italia) containing zinc sulfate and usnic acid (a chemical found in usnea) to the vagina before and after surgical removal of HPV sores improves healing and reduces the recurrence of HPV infection for up to 6 months after surgery.
  • Weight loss.
  • Pain.
  • Fever.
  • Mild swelling (inflammation) of the mouth and throat.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of usnea for these uses.


USNEA Side Effects & Safety

Usnea is POSSIBLY SAFE when used on the skin, though allergic reactions can occur.

Taking usnea by mouth is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. The sodium usniate (usnic acid) that usnea contains might cause liver damage. Sodium usniate is an ingredient of the brand named product LipoKinetix, which is marketed for weight loss. There were numerous cases of liver damage in people taking LipoKinetix. Symptoms, including nausea, weakness and fatigue, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin, usually develop from 2 weeks to 3 months after starting LipoKinetix. Symptoms disappear when it is discontinued. Additionally, there was one case of liver failure from taking pure usnic acid by mouth. Avoid taking usnea, LipoKinetix, or any other supplements containing usnea by mouth.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking usnea if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Liver disease: Usnea contains some chemicals that might harm the liver. If you have liver disease, don’t take usnea by mouth.

USNEA Interactions What is this?

We currently have no information for USNEA Interactions

USNEA Dosing

The appropriate dose of usnea depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for usnea. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

See 3 Reviews for this Treatment - OR -

Review this Treatment

Learn about User Reviews and read IMPORTANT information about user generated content

Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

Search for a Vitamin or Supplement

Ex. Ginseng, Vitamin C, Depression

Today on WebMD

Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
Man taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
clams
Quiz
Woman in sun
Slideshow
 
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
!!69X75_Vitamins_Supplements.jpg
Evaluator
 
Woman sleeping
Article
Woman staring into space with coffee
Article
 
IMPORTANT: About This Section and Other User-Generated Content on WebMD

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatment or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.