Usnea Lichen Part Two.

Old Mans Beard Lichen.

This is a follow on post about the Usnea medicinal lichen and our experiments to create a powerful medicine from it.

After collecting a small bag of lichen from the woodland floor, we bought it home to clean and dry.

One of the first things we noticed was a lot of little bugs and insects crawling out of the drying lichen. To give them a fair chance of survival, we shook the paper the lichen was drying on outside.

Once the lichen felt crispy dry a good shake removed debris that was lodged in the multiple stems.

This particular lichen releases a strong smell, very unique but not at all horrible. It is also a paler grey than when wet.

We wanted to try an alcohol tincture, an oil infusion and also a powder. This is a first time for us using Usnea, so we are experimenting with small amounts.

To expose more surface area to help release its medicinal principles we used scissors to cut it up fine.. It was actually easier than using a knife!

We divided the amount into three. The portion to make into a powder was put into an electric spice grinder and given a wizz. Strangely the white inner core wouldnt grind down and seperated out, looking very much like a pan scourer.

After sieving the coarse fibres out, which was kept to add to the tincture, it was wizzed again and we ended up with a relatively fine powder.

It may need more grinding and sieving yet. Were hoping this can be used topically, maybe on infected wounds, ulcers etc.

Usnea is very absorbant and can hold a lot of liquid. It might possibly be good for weeping or running sores, drawing away fluid aswell has having anti bacterial properties.

The other two batches of herb were put into glass jars, one covered with a 40% vodka and the other with extra virgin olive oil.

The vodka tincture needed topping up the next day as the Usnea had absorbed a lot of liquid.

We will keep these two for a full lunar cycle, shaking every few days to help release the compounds.

Some research has shown Usnea to be very effective against Staphyllococcus aureus, this is one of the super bugs (MRSA) that is becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Also Streptococcus a commonly found bacteria in throat and gut infections!

Hopefully we wont have the need to use these medicines, but if we do we will let you know how we get on.

As always we suggest you do your own research, on the subject of plants and herbs. This is for general information and interest only.

The Plant Path Folk
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