Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal

, Volume 42, Issue 10, pp 582–588 | Cite as

Chemical composition of lichens and their medical applications

  • A. P. Podterob
Medicinal Plants

Some 700 substances with identified structures are currently known in lichens. About 200 of these are depsides, whose molecules consist of 2–4 hydroxybenzoic acid residues linked by ester groups. More than 100 compounds are depsidones, which have an additional ether bond between aromatic rings. Many substances extracted from lichens have antimicrobial actions. The best known are usnic acid, an antibiotic with a phenol structure. Its sodium salt is used for treating wounds, burns, fissures, etc. The search for synthetic analogs of the unique lichen antibiotics is relevant. This article presents the structures of a number of lichen compounds (41 structures), along with a brief description of methods of extracting these substances and their properties. Progress in the cultivation of lichens and their mycobionts is discussed, as this presents the possibility of the large-scale use of their chemical components for pharmaceutical purposes. Thus, lichens long used in folk medicine are now potential sources of pharmacologically active substances.


Lichen Species Usnic Acid Atranorin Acetylenic Acid Lichen Substance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. P. Podterob
    • 1
  1. 1.Belarus State UniversityMinskBelarus

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