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Herbal medicine
Any of a family of lichens that contain usnic acid, which is believed to have antibacterial, immune stimulatory and muscle relaxing activity. Lichens are used topically for athlete’s foot and skin ulcers; as a douche for vaginal infections; and internally for colds, flu, sore throat and gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary tract infections.

It should not be used in pregnancy, as it stimulates uterine contraction.

usnea (usˑ·nē·),

n Latin name:
Usnea barbata; part used: entire lichen; uses: common cold, cough, sore throat, infection, an antibiotic; precautions: pregnancy, lactation. Also known as
old man's beard.