This incredible lichen never ceases to delight and fascinate me. Its beautiful pale-green color, dainty and otherworldly tendrils, sweet flower-like cups, and elastic insides offer a feast for my eyes and imagination. I often feel an inner urge to scoop it up whenever I find a large bunch lying in the leaves, blown down from its perch in the trees above... leading to later discoveries of crunchy dried tangles in my pockets weeks later! I recently learned that this lichen grows best in areas with very clean air and can be an indicator of ecosystem health. Even more fascinating is that Usnea can be an incredibly helpful ally in improving the respiratory health of our bodies! An amazing immune tonic overall with antibiotic properties, Usnea is particularly useful in helping heal respiratory and sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, strep throat, colds, and flu. It is also beneficial for kidney and urinary tract health as well as conditions related to depressed immunity. According to Jessica Godino, Co-Founder of Red Moon Herbs, Usnea is a gentle and safe herb for the whole family to use.
Making medicine from Usnea is so delightful and simple. I harvest the freshly fallen lichen and cover it with 100-proof vodka in a jar. In 6 weeks or so, using a strainer, I remove the solids and am left with powerful, inexpensive immune support. The mysteries lying at our feet are just... beautiful!
To read more about Usnea, check out these websites: