Old Man's Beard Lichen

Usnea.spp

Medicinal Uses

Usnea (old man's beard) used for problems with hair and scalp, and for mild inflammations of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa. Usnea preparations are used clinically by North American herbalists for antibacterial action against gram positive bacteria in local or systemic infections and for antifungal action against Candida albicans

Immune System Tonic: Usnea is an immune system tonic that can be used in acute situations as well as for long term immune enhancement and general prevention, so be sure to remember this plant when the cold and flu season comes around, or any other time your immune system needs an extra boost. It has no side effects or contradictions, and is safe for children and animals. It can be used along with or instead of Echinacea. Usnea is more specific for strep and staph infections than Echinacea, and its antibiotic properties are most specific to the respiratory and urinary systems. Use it to help heal respiratory and sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, strep throat, colds, flues, as well as urinary tract, kidney, and bladder infections. Usnea is also beneficial for women with yeast infections, trichonomosas, bacterial vaginosis, and chlamydia. It can be helpful for people with chronic fatigue, HIV, herpes, and other chronic conditions related with depressed immunity.

This tough little plant doesn't make much of a tea, so it is used as an alcohol extract, also known as a tincture. Making your own alcohol extract is easy and will save you a lot of money. Fill a jar of your choice with Usnea (the more freshly harvested the better, although this plant contains so little water that it's hard to distinguish fresh from dry). Pack the jar full, but not crammed. Then fill the jar again with 100 proof vodka. Make sure the alcohol totally covers the plant material. Label your jar with the date and contents and cover it with a lid. Let it sit in a cabinet for six weeks. It's not necessary to shake it. After six weeks strain off the liquid, compost the Usnea, and pour your extract back into the jar. It will have turned brownish-orange. You can pour some into amber dropper bottles for easier use.