Herbal Allies to Know ~
Fairy Beards in the Forest~
Usnea is a lichen that can be harvested after a good storm~ When the branches of the high trees have fallen and their usnea falls with them. The touch of the storm will add additional power to your preparations.
Usnea thrives in the branches of tall trees, in places far off from people and civilization, like the fae, they make themselves known when they are good and ready, so leave an offering of bread and milk on your journey into the dark and damp woods if you seek this gift.
Be sure to test the moist usnea by gently stretching it, it should stretch like elastic and sometimes the outer algae portion will break and expose the inside~ The usnea should be grey/green in color. The whole lichen is used in medicine, as it is proven to be antifungal and antibiotic. It is an effective remedy against strep throat and staph infections. Among other uses, it can be gathered to make a natural dye. In the herbal clinic where I helped the Unhoused and IV drug using community I would use Usnea as a topical to help with skin conditions found on many of the unhoused population. It is a great preventative, it also can moisturize and protect the skin by infusing it with oil and hardening with beeswax.
You will need a glass pint canning jar, About a cup of Olive oil Enough Usnea Lichen to fill a pint jar Beeswax (¼ cup to every cup of oil) Fill the jar with Usnea, and then pour olive oil over it.
On the stove heat water in a pot (about 2 inches high) and place the jar inside the pot with water, turn the heat to low and let sit covered for 1 hour. (double boiler method) When it is done, strain the usnea from the oil using a cheesecloth or mesh strainer.
Put the oil back in the jar and add the beeswax. For every cup of strained oil, use ¼ cup of beeswax. Blend the beeswax and oil together till completely melted together.
The salve can be stored in the pint jar, or portioned out into smaller containers. Let cool and use to help with fungal infections and wound healing. Usnea Tincture can be made fairly easily as well and is a great remedy for UTI and Respiratory infections. Simply add the properly identified usnea to a jar half way and cover with a hard alcohol that is at least 80 proof. Let this sit in a cool dark place for a full moon cycle and then strain, taking a few dropperfuls as needed for UTI or Respiratory Function.