It's magical walking into the 10 acres of forest we now own to harvest herbs. Its that feeling you get as a small child before you understood ownership. The forest has always been a child's wonderland. It most definitely was for me. That is honestly what led me to herbal medicine in the first place, I wanted that child-like re-connection with nature.
Today I wanted to share with you one of the herbs, or I guess its a Lichen, that I have in abundance on my property:
Usnea grows like whispy gray-green beards from hardwood trees in rainy forests.
Usnea contains an acid that is antibiotic. It is used for infections with gram positive bacteria like strep throat. It is not effective against gram negative bacteria like e. coli. It is documented that Usnea was more successful as an antibiotic than penicillin in tuberculosis and strep throat.
How to Harvest:
Find a forest with hardwood trees. Usnea is usually hanging from tree branches. After a storm is a great time to harvest because the wind has blown down a lot of the unreachable pieces. It is a very slow growing Lichen so don't over harvest, only take what you need. To identify it correctly you'll need to look at a few distinct factors:
-Here in the Pacific Northwest our Usnea can grow up to a foot long! In some other parts of the country it's small.
-Look for a single attachment like in the photo below. Other lichens will be attached more broadly while Usnea has a single "stem".
-Pull apart a strand in your hand. It should be stretchy and have a white core like in the photo below.
Acute bacterial infections
Second and Third degree burns
Urinary tract infection
1:5 (herb to liquid ratio) 80% Alcohol
Dilute in water as it can be an irritating tincture
Dropper 2-3x a day for acute bacterial infections
Bailey Patrice & Jonathan David