Usnea is a generic name for several lichen species, which grow and hang from trees. Due to its antibiotic properties, it has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Chinese medicine regards it as effective in the treatment of surface infections and skin ulcers.
The active component is usnic acid, which possesses anti-tumor properties that make it effective in treating staphylococcus and streptococcus infections manifesting on the skin. It treats Lung, upper respiratory and urinary tract infections, and its anti-bacterial and antifungal properties make it effective in addressing Candida albicans.
Research has found evidence to support the claims of antibacterial properties for usnea. Due to these qualities, usnea is a natural preservative for cleansers.
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.