It’s Raining Usnea

Here is a remarkable plant available right now in April. I found it all over the ground at the AB Tech campus in Candler, NC outside Asheville, NC.

Usnea is also called Old Man’s Beard and you can find goofy pictures on the internet of guys using it literally for a beard. The genus species name is Usnea barbata or barbata bradovea. The plant is actually a combination of lichen and algae. But here are the amazing medicinal qualities of this “medicine from the earth”: the usneic acid is natural antibiotic and has been used successfully to treat staph infections. Usnea stops bleeding and you can collect and dry the plant and use like gauze to treat superficial wounds. I plan to use this in my “emergency and first aid kit” herbal remedy cabinet, a class I will be teaching in Asheville at the FireFly Gathering in June 20 -23rd

Usnea is also a bitter that sustains digestion, is used to help those who stop smoking for the hacking from the lungs. Usnea can be made into an extract and tinctured to put onto gauze and treat wounds. [Read more…]