Usnic Acid in Usnea Extract

Usnic acid is uniquely found in lichens, and is especially abundant in genera such as Alectoria, Cladonia, Usnea, Lecanora, Ramalina and Evernia. Many lichens and extracts containing usnic acid have been utilized for medicinal, perfumery, cosmetic as well as ecological applications. Usnic acid as a pure substance has been formulated in creams, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorants and sunscreen products, in some cases as an active principle, in others as a preservative. In addition to antimicrobial activity against human and plant pathogens, usnic acid has been shown to exhibit antiviral, antiprotozoal, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity. Ecological effects, such as antigrowth, antiherbivore and anti-insect properties, have also been demonstrated.

Usnic acid is found in over-the-counter weight loss supplements, but no clinical evidence is available justifying its use in this way. Usnic acid is not typically consumed by people, but is used in some cosmetic products. Improper use of usnic acid has been associated with severe medical consequences.

In addition to its unproven weight loss properties, usnic acid has also been associated with other unproven claims. Usnic acid has been researched for use as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-viral, and fever and pain reducer.




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