In the naturopathy the beard lichen has been known for a long time. More than 4, 000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians used them to treat various diseases. They have also been used successfully in Europe for about 1000 years. It is one of the most effective natural antibiotics.

Occurrence & cultivation of the bearded lichen

The bearded lichen ( Usnea barbata ) belongs to the family of lichens ( Parmeliaceae ) and is also called tree moss and old man's beard. The greyish to greenish-yellowish-looking medicinal plant grows hanging and shrub similarly on the bark of needle and deciduous trees. It is a living community between a chlorophyte algae and an ascomycete fungus. The beard lichen is depending on environmental conditions ten to one meter long.

In pure alpine air (alpine forests) it becomes longer than in sulfur-laden air in the plains. Bearded lichen need an acidic environment and therefore arise only on trees with acidic bark. They prefer cooler regions with high humidity and frequent rainfall. Sometimes they even grow on stones (Andean area). At the ends of the thread-like structures they form semicircular or pin-shaped outgrowths. When pulling apart the bark detaches and releases the whitish marrow.

Effect & application

Bearded lichen contains highly effective usnic acid, tannins and vitamin C and is used internally and externally. For the production of natural remedies, the whole herb is used. It is dried and processed into tea, tincture, extract, lozenges and original tincture. The cosmetics industry uses the old man's beard because of its preserving effect in various products. In addition, beard lichen preparations are suitable for external use as envelopes and wound dressing.

Applied as a natural deodorant to the underarms, beard lichen odor-inhibiting. When poured into the bathwater, it is used to treat skin diseases. If the user drinks lollipops with bearded thick extract, the bitter substances cover the mouth and throat mucosa like a protective film, so that the throat or tonsillitis is effectively treated. The anti-bacterial effect of beard lichen is particularly evident in infections caused by streptococci, staphylococci, tubercle bacteria and gram-positive (in the Gram process dark blue coloring) bacteria.

Because of its anti-microbial properties, the natural product is also used against filamentous fungi and athlete's foot. For external and internal use tincture containing usnic acid is suitable. This now also synthetically producible lichen acid is the main active ingredient of the natural remedy. The extract contains 40 to 50 percent alcohol. Beard lichen preparations are very well tolerated.

Side effects and drug interactions are unknown. However, users with an alcohol problem and dry alcoholics should not use them, as most beard products are mixed with high-percentage alcohol. The same applies to people with liver diseases and children under 12 years. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before taking it.

Importance for Health, Treatment & Prevention

There is hardly any infection that can not be treated with barbering preparations. Used as a tea, the dried and crushed herb helps against coughing and hoarseness. Lollipop lozenges also ensure that the throat, which is rough due to a cold or a flu infection, quickly heals and that the bacteria and viruses in the pharynx are killed.

The anti-inflammatory and immune system strengthening effect of the curative herb is additionally supported by the contained in the lichen vitamin C efficiently. Applied externally, it disinfects the open wound, promotes the wound-healing process and the formation of new tissue. Usnic acid also interacts with vitamin C. It also prevents gangrene caused by the entry of pathogens into the open skin area. In this way, even the Native Americans treated their injured warriors.

The beard tincture tincture heals abscesses and boils. When consumed as tea, the natural remedy helps with stomach and intestinal diseases and problems with the gallbladder. Applied in the form of a drinking cure over a longer period of time, the patient can thoroughly cleanse his body of toxins stored in the body fat. Heavy metals, pesticide degradation products, foodborne pesticides, and other harmful substances are released, helping to improve the patient's health.

Skin damage caused by too much UV light (sunburn) can also be cured with a beard bath or an envelope with tincture. Against acne and impure skin as well as scratched pimples caused skin inflammation, the old natural remedy is also very effective use. For this purpose, the patient applies 4 to 5 ml of tincture to the relevant site 3 times a day. In the case of extensive injuries, a sterile gauze bandage, which is moistened with a little tincture and applied to the wound, also helps.

Since usnic acid, despite its strong anti-septic effect, is extremely gentle on the skin, the user does not first have to dilute the tincture with water. Homeopathy uses Usnea barbata as the original tincture. It is available in 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 and 125 ml bottles. For acute complaints the patient takes 5 drops of the original tincture every half hour or every hour and leaves them in the mouth for some time. However, applications of this kind should not take longer than a week, unless the naturopath recommends an even longer therapy. Otherwise, the original tincture may be taken half an hour before or after meals with some water.

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