What's in xanthoparmelia lichen?
A number of chemicals are found in xanthoparmelia scabrosa including epipolythiopiperazinediones. Xanthoparmelia in bulk powder form is a brownish color, and the taste is not bitter.
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I have only come across one study regarding xanthoparmelia scabrosa (see below) and it concerns me since there may be toxins in this lichen, but at the same time these toxins are able to kill cancer cells. So, not much can be said for sure till we have at least a couple of more studies.
Evidence that the lichen-derived scabrosin esters target mitochondrial ATP
synthase in P388D1 cells.
Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2003.
Scabrosin esters (SEs), which have been recently isolated from the lichen Xanthoparmelia scabrosa, belong to the epipolythiodioxopiperazine (ETP) class of secondary metabolites characterized by possession of a reactive disulfide bond. Colony forming assays show that these toxins are active against human tumor cell lines at nanomolar concentrations. ETP toxins have been shown to inhibit a variety of enzymes via interaction with sensitive cysteine residues. Here we show that the typical scabrosin ester acetate butyrate induces early mitochondrial membrane hyperpolarization accompanied by apoptotic cell death. The toxin lowers ATP in intact cells and inhibits the rate of ATP synthesis in permeabilzed cells. Comparison with the effects of the known ATP synthase inhibitor oligomycin B is consistent with ATP synthase as an early target in scabrosin ester-induced cell death.
Press release - Toxic Herb Alert - Xanthoparmelia scabrosa
Esters may be Unsafe
of interest and other pages on this website
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J AOAC Int. 2010. Analysis of salazinic, norstictic, and usnic acids in
Xanthoparmelia chlorochroa by ultra-performance liquid chromatography/tandem
mass spectrometry. The lichen species Xanthoparmelia chlorochroa is toxic when
consumed by domestic sheep, cattle, and Rocky Mountain elk. Clinical signs
exhibited by poisoned animals include red urine, ataxia, and muscular weakness
that rapidly progresses to recumbency. Elk are unable to recover once becoming
recumbent; however, most affected cattle can recover if offered suitable feed
shortly following the onset of signs.