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 filipendula, Usnea florida, Usnea ghattensis, Usnea hirta, Usnea Lichen, Usnea longissimi, Usnea plicata, Usnea scabrata, Usnée, Usnée Barbue, Usnée Fleurie, Usniate de Sodium, Usnic Acid, Woman's Long Hair.


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. The plant body of usnea is used to make medicine.

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

Usnea is also used directly on the skin for sore throat and for athlete's foot. A product containing zinc sulfate and usnic acid, a compound found in usnea, is used to improve healing after treatment for a sexually transmitted infection that can lead to genital warts or cancer (human papillomavirus or HPV).

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.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • A sexually transmitted infection that can lead to genital warts or cancer (human papillomavirus or HPV). Early research has looked at the effects of applying a specific product (Zeta N) containing zinc sulfate and usnic acid (a chemical found in usnea) to the vagina before and after surgical removal of HPV sores. Applying this product seems to improve healing and reduce the rate of HPV infection for up to 6 months after surgery.
  • Fever.
  • Mild swelling (inflammation) of the mouth and throat.
  • Pain.
  • Weight loss.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of usnea for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Usnea is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. A compound in usnea called sodium usniate or usnic acid 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. Additionally, there has been at least one case of liver failure from taking pure usnic acid by mouth. Avoid taking usnea, LipoKinetix, or any other supplements containing usnea by mouth.

When applied to the skin: Usnea is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin. Some people might have an allergic reaction to usnea.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if usnea is safe to use when 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.



We currently have no information for USNEA Interactions.



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.

View References


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