I have made equally important observations, with even better results, in connection with another plant. Known by the names larch moss or beard moss {Usnea barbata), it is a lichen that grows on larch trees and its properties had not previously been analysed when I first became interested in it. During my skiing trips I would always chew some of this lichen. I noticed that deer and chamois enjoyed it too, because where there was deep snow the Usnea within the animals’ reach had always been nibbled off. Closer investigation has now shown that Usnea and certain other lichens are high in carbohydrates and therefore of considerable nutritive value. The animals seem to know this and make good use of the plant as food and, incidentally, of its antibiotic properties which make them resistant to disease. There is no doubt that Usnea clears up catarrh. I have seen this confirmed repeatedly. On occasions, after starting out on a tour, I would feel the onset of a sore throat and runny nose. As I went along I would chew Usnea and by the time I arrived home again my cold would have disappeared. Such valuable experience urged me to investigate this lichen more closely, and I now use the extract in the prophylactic medicine Usneasan.

Observations confirm that if you have a tendency to catarrh or colds, your resistance will be considerably improved by taking this remedy regularly. So why take the risk of using manufactured antibiotics which may inflict unwanted side effects? Why not use the cultivated and wild mountain plants, whose harmless but effective medicinal properties are always present in the right composition and proportions according to the laws of nature?


Just as certain bacteria in the intestines are necessary for the proper digestion and assimilation of food, so plants need certain bacteria to enable them to flourish as they should. For instance, it is impossible to reap a good crop of soybeans if the soil has not been inoculated with the bacteria symbiotically associated with them, or unless the beans have been grown in that particular soil before. No pine forest could grow without bacteria in the soil either. They are indispensable. A similar necessity exists in the digestive system; it, too, needs certain bacteria. That is the reason why yoghurt is highly recommended for the care of the bowels, preferably yoghurt containing bacteria of the species Lactobacillus acidophilus, since it encourages the normal, beneficial flora, while it hinders the harmful one, the putrefactive type, in its development. Lactic acid bacteria are good for us because they get on well with the intestinal bacteria and promote their growth. But if we take any of the various antibiotics on the market – penicillin, streptomycin, auromycin or whatever other names they may have been given – we must be prepared for their damaging effect on the intestinal flora, for it so happens that the bacteria essential to good health are also the most sensitive to drugs. No wonder, then, that the harmful bacteria proliferate and spread in the intestines after these double-edged remedies have been administered, possibly leading to chronic inflammation of the intestines. Once the beneficial bacterial flora has been damaged, the patient will have less resistance than before taking the drugs and germs can gain entrance much more easily.

If the patient then receives further doses of potent antibiotics, the body will no longer respond. In such cases even more conservative treatment may be ineffective, leaving the patient open to the gravest consequences.