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Bryophytes-NAT 503 Final Paper

Bryophytes -Dermatologic Conditions
Bryophytes- The Medicinal Uses of Mosses in Dermatologic Conditions
Jennifer Archie
Bryophytes -Dermatologic Conditions
The use of bryophyte as medicine has been common for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.
Bryophytes, or mosses, are the second largest group of plants with the characteristics of being nonvascular, and without true leaves and stems. This plant life holds as many as 28,000 species with
three main types: mosses, hornworts, and liverworts. Historically, it has been used to pack wounds
during World War I and create many folk remedies within indigenous peoples around the world.
Research has shown that this seemingly mysterious and magical plant can be used to aid in a wide
variety of skin disorders and ailments. The purpose of this study is to determine if the use of
bryophytes as an alternative medicinal therapy improves the healing process in dermatologic
issues. Bryophytes contain many compounds that are found distinctively useful in the treatment of
skin infection, irritation and inflammation. These compounds include amino acids, fatty acids,
polysaccharides, and phenylquinones. Studies indicate that bryophytes can be easily reproduced
under scientific means to extract compounds to make medicine for dermatologic issues, making it
a potential, and affordable treatment option for people who suffer from dermatologic disease,
wounds or burns.
Keywords: alternative, bryophytes, dermatologic, healing, medicinal, plants.
Bryophytes -Dermatologic Conditions
Bryophytes are the family of plant life that includes the mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.
It is the second largest group of plants that are non-vascular and have no true stems or leaves.
Many people overlook this mysterious and seemingly magical organism as they walk along where
it grows. Only flowering plants outnumber the bryophyte (Chandra, et al., 2015). It grows in
abundance in forests, bogs, moors and many backyards.
The medicinal use of mosses has been prevalent through history including the use of it as
wound dressing during World War I. Sphangum moss was found to be absorbent and antiseptic
for dressing soldiers wounds, when cotton and wool bandages ran short. Also, many cultures have
historically used it as folk medicine.
Cell structure of the bryophyte is unique in that it has a very dense quality and has the
ability to have great uptake and retention of fluid (Varney &Barnett, 1987). This is why it has
application in wound care.
Mishra, Pandey, and Chandra (2014) took a closer look at bryophytes as therapeutics with
some very interesting findings. The study stated that bryophytes are the second largest group of
plants with the distinguishing characteristic of being without true leaves, stem, or vascularity.
However, they do show alternation of generation like all other land plants that do possess those
characteristics. Potential biotechnological and biopharmaceutical applications are possible due to
Bryophytes -Dermatologic Conditions
secondary metabolites found in bryophytes. The authors found that in China, different species of
bryophytes are available in pharmacies and are commonly used to treat tonsillitis, bronchitis, and
many skin issues.
Chandra et al. (2016) researched the use of environmentally safe pesticide, non-toxic to
humans and animals, made from a member of the moss family. Their research also includes a
section on Polytrichum pallidisetum that was found to impede the growth of melanoma.
Tosun, Kupeli, Suntar, Ozenoglu, and Asakawa (2013) evaluated the bryophyte family
used as anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive. It suggested that the sesquiterpenes found in the
plant are partially responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect.
The research of Singh et al. (2011) concentrated on the properties that bryophytes have
regarding the healing of burns and the infections associated with burns. Impressively, the plant
was found to be effective against Gram-positive bacteria, which often becomes immune to
pharmaceutical antibiotics.
Alam, Shrama, Rawat, and Verma (2015) focused on the many kinds of biological activity
in compounds from bryophytes. Plagiochasma japonica and Marchantia tosama exhibit antitumor activity and muscle relaxation ability.
The naturally present compounds in bryophytes used medicinally seem to have a wealth of
healing properties. As a valuable source of bioactive compounds, bryophytes also appear to have
lower topical side effects than using pharmaceutical-based medicines for dermatologic issues.
Interestingly, the study conducted by Tosun, Akkol, Suntar, Ozengolu, & Asakawa (2013)
indicates that the liverwort species has high sesquiterpenoids and reduce inflammation. This
Bryophytes -Dermatologic Conditions
finding can lead to many advances in medicinal treatment of ailments such as the topical
inflammation involved in psoriatic arthritis, for example.
Another unique finding about the use of medicinal bryophytes addresses the problem of
drug resistance. One major issue in medicine is fighting bacterial or fungal infection that becomes
immune to commonly used medicines. Since the bryophyte is not saturating the pharmaceutical
market, it may be an answer to this rising issue.
The study by Mishra, Pandey, & Chandra (2014) brings about the point that mosses are
very easily manipulated during laboratory production of biopharmaceuticals. This could
potentially mean that with only water, necessary minerals, light and oxygen, many valuable
medicines can be produced, quite easily and in abundance. The effect this would have on the cost
to patients could be remarkable.
Perhaps one of the most promising statements of the research (Chandra, et al., 2016) is that
mosses can impede the growth of melanoma cancer cells. This area of medicinal moss research
needs more study because of the severity, mortality and predominance of skin cancer.
Although the use of bryophytes to combat inflammation, wounds, irritation of skin, burns
and many other dermatologic issues is historic in nature, dating back hundreds of years, perhaps
thousands, the research needs to be on-going and progressive. It seemingly has a myriad of
untapped uses and potential as medicine. The findings that it is easily reproduced in laboratory
circumstances opens the theory of mass production, therefore decreasing costs to people suffering
from dermatologic ailments.
Bryophytes -Dermatologic Conditions
The fact that bryophytes have shown promise combating drug resistant bacteria and fungi
is also a major point to further study. The growing reported incidence of drug resistance is a battle
the pharmaceutical industry fights annually, but is growing in despite this effort. The need for more
study is recommended.
Bryophytes -Dermatologic Conditions
Mishra, R., Pandey, V., & Chandra, R. (2014). Potential of Bryophytes as Therapeutics.
International Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Research. 5(9). 3584-3593.
Chandra, S., Chandra, D., Barh, A., Pankaj, Pandey, R., Sharma, I. (2016). Bryophytes: Hoard of
Remedies, An Ethno-medicinal Review. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
7(1), 94-98. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.01.007
Tosun, A., Kupeli, E., Suntar, I., Ozenoglu, H., & Asakawa, Y. (2013). Phytochemical
investigations and bioactivity evaluation of liverworts as a function of anti-inflammatory and
antinociceptive properties in animal models. Pharmaceutical Biology, 51(8), 1008-1013.
Singh, M., Singh, S., Nath, V., Sahu, V., & Singh-Rawat, A.K. (2011) Antibacterial activity of
some bryophytes used for the treatment of burn infections. Pharmaceutical Biology, 49(5), 526530. https://doi.org/10.3109/13880209.2010.523007
Alam, A., Shrama, V., Rawat, K.K., & Verma, P.K. (2015). Bryophytes- The Ignored Medicinal
Plants. Sikkim Manipal University Medical Journal, 2(1), 299-315.
Varney, S. & Barnett, S. (1987). Sphangum moss and wound healing. Sage Journals. Doi: