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Just Like Doxycycline: The Antibiotic That Grows in Your Backyard

Just Like Doxycycline: The Antibiotic That Grows in Your Backyard

There has been plenty of concern in recent years with the overuse of antibiotics, and the risks that overusing them can bring, even to a normal healthy person. While prescription antibiotics certainly have their place and benefit, overusing them, or using them inappropriately, can contribute to creating a resistance to the medication that was developed to heal. Another concern is all the uncomfortable and serious side effects that can come with taking antibiotics, such as nausea, rashes, sensitivity to the sun, and potentially fatal c. diff colitis.

It’s no surprise then, that more and more people are turning to natural remedies and antibiotics, such as usnea. You might be wondering if natural and homegrown antibiotics could cause side effects or be harmful to certain people? Sure, just like prescription antibiotics, there can be side effects. However, unlike more commonly known prescription antibiotics, usnea can be completely natural without unhealthy chemicals…and you might even be able to find it right in your backyard. 

What is Usnea?

Usnea is a fairly common and intriguing lichen found in many forests and woods across the world. A lichen is defined by Merriam-Webster as: “any numerous complex plantlike organisms made up of an alga or a cyanobacterium and a fungus growing in symbiotic association on a solid surface (such as on a rock or the bark of trees).” The usnea lichen, which has a body with a netted hair-like texture, is developed through a mutual relationship between fungus and algae. 

While there are several types of species of the usnea lichen, the one with the highest degree of medicinal value is often referred to as “Old Man’s Beard”, due to its appearance. Often found on trees, it can easily be identified by lightly pulling the main branch of the lichen apart. If it’s usnea, the green outside layer will break, exposing a stretchy white band substance found inside, which should remain intact. However, due to this species being ultra-sensitive to polluted air, it’s rarely found within city limits.

Possible Medicinal Value and Uses of Usnea

Usnea has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times by Egyptian, Greek, and Chinese healers. This is not a new plant, nor a recent or temporary fad. It has been around for a very long time for use in healing people with certain ailments. The outer portion of the lichen, referred to as the cortex, holds the antibiotic composites, and the inner part (the thallus) contains a substance that stimulates the immune system.

Common ailments and conditions that are thought to benefit from the application of usnea, include the following:

  • Fever
  • Inflammation
  • Weight loss
  • Yeast infections

Some people with HPV (human papillomavirus) have also found some benefit in using a form of usnea. It’s suggested that a person apply a product containing usnic acid (found in usnea) and zinc sulfate to the vaginal area before and after the surgical removal of HPV lesions. Doing so could help speed up the healing process and diminish the chances of recurrence of the infection.

Although it’s been used globally since ancient days, for various purposes, usnea has eluded various herbal traditions that solely focused on vascular plants. However, the usnic acid is found to interrupt the cellular system of Gram-positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, while leaving the necessary natural microbiota intact.

It is a particularly formidable medicinal tool for inflammation and dampness often associated with respiratory and urinary tract infections. Applied topically, usnea can also be effective in fighting against MRSA, and fungal infections such as candida.

Used as a wound dressing, usnea could be a wonderful remedy for infected wounds, such as cellulitis. The drying and cooling attributes of usnea help to reduce heat and redness stemming from the infection. Due to the natural anti-microbial properties found in the lichen, it is often applied directly to an open wound to fight off infection. It can either be mixed with water to form a mixture to be applied, or used as a powder after it’s been dried.

A spray could also be used to apply on areas where fungus might be lingering, such as the feet, either between the toes on in the nails.

Finding and Developing Usnea as an Antibiotic

Usnea can be applied either externally, or internally. It can be developed into various forms, such as the following:

  • cough lozenges
  • a tincture or extract
  • mouthwash to gargle with, by mixing water with a usnea tincture
  • a salve for wound dressing, to apply externally

Some of the above forms can be found in a health store. But, you can also make your own. And, a walk through the woods might be all you need to find the main ingredient. When looking for usnea lichen to make your remedies, you can often find it in the woods, either on trees or on the ground after falling from the trees. Look for hair-like growths, similar to an overgrown beard. If you find it, place it on cotton or paper until you can get it home. From there, you will have diverse options in developing a viable antibiotic and treatment to use for the ailments and conditions mentioned earlier.

Usnic acid isn’t soluble in water. So, it’s best to extract it in alcohol, oil, or heat. Depending on which form you are seeking to create, or use, the extraction method can differ. For example, when making a tincture or extract, place the usnea into a jar, then cover it with vodka. Let this mix sit for several months, then strain it into a dropper bottle. You can also purchase a homemade Usnea Tincture Spray here

Consulting an herbalist would be beneficial if you have any doubts or questions on how to make the proper form, how to apply it, or where to find it.

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113 Comments

  • Mary W Posted May 7, 2020 1:52 PM

    I heard about this, researched it, then tried it. I gathered some from trees branches after a storm gifted them to me. They went into a bottle that I kept in a closet completely covered with vodka. I gently rocked the bottle several times a day for 6 weeks, then strained out the usnea and bottled the results. I tried it after a bad cold when I coughed so much at night I hadn’t slept in 2 days. Finally I took a 1/2 teaspoon in orange juice and within 15 minutes, I was sleeping like a baby. I worked! I took some once I woke up and no more cough but also, no more congestion, drippy nose or cold symptoms. After making fun of me saying it was only the vodka, my son-in-law got the cold I had, finally he asked to try it and it worked. He now has his own bottle that he uses for all the sinus problems he has. MAGIC. It does activate your immune system and in some parts of the world is called the ‘lungs of the woods’ as it seems to grow best in clear air. Ours is gifted every spring in abundance from the tops of the oaks that drop limbs. I would take medicine from a doctor but none have ever worked this well with no side affects. Personally, this got me interested in what else was out there for our benefit. I found that basil relieves the itch, redness, and swelling of mosquito bites. In Florida, that is vitally important. Many other things are grown in my garden for tea enjoyment but am finding healthful uses now, also. Your article is very much appreciated as I hope others will discover and keep handy, this valuable addition to their medicine cabinet. Thanks!

    • The Lost Herbs Posted May 8, 2020 3:12 PM

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your experience as well. I never knew that Usnea is also called “the lungs of the woods”, this is such an interesting fact.

      God bless!

      • Terry Posted September 16, 2021 12:36 PM

        I am interested in finding pineneedle tea or how to naturally obtain suramin

      • keith Posted September 30, 2021 11:56 PM

        Hi! Do you think it works on a tooth infection?

    • Brazjion Posted May 9, 2020 5:05 PM

      Very informative thank you…

    • Angela Crosby Posted June 17, 2020 1:50 AM

      That’s amazing. Thank you for sharing this testimonial. I can’t wait to try it.

    • Denise Posted July 24, 2020 3:32 PM

      Very interesting and informative. Is there another way to make this other than with vodka or alcohol? I’m a MRSA carrier, get lung junk easily, and infections. Is there a way to make what you did without using vodka or alcohol? Thanks for your testimonial!

      • Mary W Posted July 24, 2020 4:36 PM

        I have never done that way but I know someone that does it regularly and has wonderful YT instructions – RainCountry. She has several tutorials for making alcohol free tintures but I don’t know if it will work as the alcohol is what breaksdown the usnea to release the medicinal properties. I don’t think she has ever done an article on usnea so don’t know if it’s possible. But you could search for alcohol free usnea and maybe Mr. Googlepants can help. LOL Good luck as it is a wonderful thing to have at the ready.

      • Rhonda Arnold Posted January 28, 2021 4:55 PM

        In the article she stated it not water soluble so you hv to extract using alcohol, oil or heat. So could you do oil? Is this right Nicole?

      • Julie Ham Posted February 28, 2021 5:57 PM

        I worked in a homeopathic manufacturing plant where we made tinctures, extracts an tincture/extracts. Simple extracts can be made with glycerin as a preservative, rather than a tincture with alcohol.

      • Robyn Posted July 30, 2021 6:04 PM

        You can make a tincture in Glycerine, it doesn’t have the self life of alcohol, (probably a few years, instead of 10ish) but is very effective and has no alcohol.

      • Sara Donaldson Posted December 23, 2021 3:10 AM

        I know I may sound incompetent when I ask this, but what does MRSA have to do with alcohol? I only ask because I had MRSA back in 2012 & I like to enjoy a few beers or a some wine on the weekends. So now I’m worried that I shouldn’t be doing that…

      • Bobbi Posted March 3, 2022 8:08 PM

        Maybe see if you can use vegetable glycerine to make a glycerite?

      • Marika Posted December 3, 2022 2:36 PM

        Vinegar might be an alternative way to extract..

    • bev Posted September 4, 2021 3:20 AM

      hello, I’m in Australia, we don’t have usnea here, do you have knowledge of a comparable plant in australia

      • Fay Posted September 29, 2021 11:20 AM

        Hi Bev, I’m from Toowoomba in Queensland and it grows all over the trees here.

      • Nicole Posted April 30, 2022 6:09 PM

        Hi I’m in Australia and we have it everywhere. I’ve noticed unless I’m looking at the wrong plant. It’s growing now in my trees outside in northern rivers nsw. And the beard one particularly I also see even on a tree covered in it in sydney . You can also buy from nursery. Are you sure you’re looking at the right plant?

    • Nhan Nguyen Posted October 22, 2021 4:12 PM

      Hi Mary. Thanks for posting this! Sounds amazing. I would love to learn how to make the MAGIC potion. Can you email me the steps, just to make sure I get it right? How big was the jar and how much Vodka did you put in it?

    • Maggie Posted October 23, 2021 4:45 PM

      This was very helpful I will try it. Is vodka the only alcohol that can be used?

  • Jean Pollock Posted May 7, 2020 2:16 PM

    I truly believe that God put whatever herbs each person needs in their locality for healing. Praise Him! Love to heal using herbs and elements from God’s Pharmacy.

    • Mary K Wessling Posted May 7, 2020 2:29 PM

      I agree Jean, God gave us all the things we needed when he created the Earth and people, he loves his children!

    • Mary W Posted May 7, 2020 3:53 PM

      YES! Agree completely. My evening dog walks include my evening prayers and I’m continually amazed at all I see in the woods and always thankful for all the gifts he provides free.

    • Kathy Anderson Posted May 7, 2020 11:41 PM

      I was raised believing that for every poisonous plant in the earth, within 4 feet is a plant that will cure it.Ka

      • mary w Posted May 8, 2020 2:11 PM

        I once heard that right next to stinging nettle usually grows a plant that relieves the acid pain from the nettle almost instantly. I can’t remember what it was but your comment reminded me that we are taken care of very completely if we only learn enough. That is one of the best benefits from the internet – learning IF you responsibly research what you see/read. We sure have lost a lot of knowledge from the comfort and easy of store shopping which is why I love to find blogs like this one from which to learn and enjoy.

      • Heather Morrissey Posted October 3, 2021 2:20 PM

        I was raised that way toy grandfather was a woodsman and friends with mi’kmaq people’s in Nova Scotia Canada he taught us similar things.

    • The Lost Herbs Posted May 8, 2020 3:16 PM

      Hi Jean,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I wholeheartedly agree!

      God bless!

      • Jill Posted January 4, 2021 3:30 PM

        Mary (from above) I think it is called Dock, or yellow Dock that releives the sting of nettle

  • Donna Posted May 7, 2020 2:39 PM

    How long will the tincture last if kept in the correct conditions? Meaning glass bottle in a cool dark cupboard?

    • Mary W Posted May 7, 2020 3:50 PM

      My research showed that it is probably indefinite since it is alcohol. My SIL uses his for immune system enhancement (occasionally takes a does for his sinus problems) and my favorite thing is the decongestant properties that I got with the cold. I made mine last year and made enough for 18 bottles which are kept in the dark, cool place. Each of us has one bottle that we keep in the medicine cabinet. Since he has so many sinus issues he went through one of the 6 oz. bottles in a year while I don’t get ill often and mine is only half gone. Good luck in your research – it becomes empowering.

    • Mary B Posted October 23, 2021 11:15 PM

      Jewelweed relieves sting from nettle and poison ivy if you apply before it oozes

  • Donna Posted May 7, 2020 2:40 PM

    I’m not from this site but I will tell you my book took awhile to get to me…I emailed them and they were decently quick to reply. It’s a great book and I’ve started adding notes to it as I learn more…

  • Lise Posted May 7, 2020 6:59 PM

    How much usnea would it take for a cup of alcohol?
    Thanks

    • Mary W Posted May 7, 2020 8:57 PM

      I just placed a heap of usnea in a glass jar and covered it with vodka. Once it was covered, I put a lid on and never measured anything. I know the first time I had a very small bottle just to test it out. After it worked so well, I collected a huge amount, let it set for a few hours to let any insects escape and then put it in a 3 gallon, glass pickle jar. We had a large oak die and when they cut it down, I got all the usnea I could to stuff in the jar. I came to several inches below the top. I filled it with vodka to cover – had to go back to the liquor store as it was way more than what I had originally bought – took 3 large bottles! But I had read that since it was alcohol it would last years and wasn’t worried that I was wasting the vodka. That is when I bottled 18 amber bottles that I got off Amazon being sure they were food grade with leak proof screw on lid. It’s been over a year and it is still fine as far as taste, look, and smell goes. Still effective. This was a terrific article that Nicole Apelian wrote. Just wanted to give my testimony on how well it works for us.

      • momof4spoiled1s Posted May 8, 2020 8:43 PM

        Mary, did you use any kind of ratio on the usnea vs vodka? Thanks

      • Mary W Posted May 9, 2020 2:55 AM

        I just washed it, stuck what I had collected in a glass jar then poured enough vodka over to cover it. It just needs to be submerged but even if some is not, since you gently rock it around for a minute or so at least twice a day for 6 weeks or longer, it will get a chance to be ‘worked on’ by the alcohol and it is just fine. Just pour enough to cover it and I didn’t pack it in tightly, I just put it in a jar. No measure, no rules, just cover, rock and roll, and wait till your cuddly baby is done with it’s nap. LOL The alcohol is not an ingredient as much as it is used to dissolve the structure. When it was done, it really didn’t look much different but I could definitely taste the usnea once it was done. It isn’t bitter, or nasty, just different and adding the 1/2 teaspoon to orange juice makes it more pleasant to take. I hope you decide to try this as it really is amazing. You can’t mix usnea up with anything else IF you test it by ever so gently pulling a stand apart with your fingers and watching for that inner white latex stretchy fiber. Nothing really looks like it much either. Spanish moss is right there next to it, but usnea is only attached at one point to the branch even though it looks like a bundle growing along the branch, it’s easy to find the joining place and gently pull so you see the clue – the white stretchy strand.

      • momof4spoiled1s Posted May 9, 2020 5:06 AM

        Thanks for responding. I saw after I had submitted that somebody else had already asked the same question. Boy do I feel dumb. I appreciate you taking the time to answer the same question again. Do you think it matters if its fresh or not? I will have to purchase the usnea online. Also, any specific vodka or proof? Thanks again.

      • Mary W Posted May 9, 2020 1:12 PM

        I know that it has lasted for over a year on branches that have fallen and stayed in the woods. I picked one that looked like a tree with the usnea making ‘balls’ on the top ‘branches’ of the twig. I have it in a window for decoration and just now tried the stretch/pull test on a strand to see if the latex was still flexible. It is still stretchy but the strands are crunchy and very dry. Not sure if it would be viable but have noticed that if left in water, it rehydrates. You can look in a wooded area after a rain storm to find it on fallen twigs and branches under oaks. I’m in FL and it is everywhere. Most people collect it after a storm since it grows on older branches that are beginning to die and do fall easily after the rain. I think they prefer open air. My opinion only. Collecting your own is easy way to insure it hasn’t been sprayed or treated with chemicals, also.

      • Mary Hermis Posted August 10, 2021 12:38 PM

        Is this the same thing that grows on the trees in the south.

  • Deborah Posted May 7, 2020 7:32 PM

    Both my husband and I have been experiencing severe vertigo. Our doctor said it’s a virus. Do you have any remedies you could suggest that may help?

    • The Lost Herbs Posted May 8, 2020 3:26 PM

      Hi Deborah,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I am sorry that you are experiencing this condition.
      Ginger root can be steeped in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Honey can help with the bitter taste. Drinking ginger tea twice a day may help dizziness, nausea, and other vertigo symptoms.
      Also both apple cider vinegar and honey are believed to have curative properties to relieve blood flow to the brain. Two parts honey and one part apple cider vinegar can prevent and treat vertigo symptoms.

      God bless!

    • patty alexander,sr Posted February 2, 2021 8:21 AM

      Deborah, I find relief from vertigo with a product from Boiron called Cocculus Indicus 6 c.
      It sells for about $8. on Amazon or other places.

    • Lilly Posted February 17, 2022 11:25 AM

      Deborah, I can’t remember the name but there’s a physical therapy-like treatment you can do on yourself that is very effective for vertigo. It worked fast for me and is very easy. It involves laying first on one side then the other to realign the crystals in your inner ear which are causing the problem. This isn’t unicorns and rainbows. This is medical fact. Look it up on YouTube to learn the procedure. It’s my first line of treatment should I ever get vertigo again.

      • Laura Posted April 12, 2022 6:52 AM

        It’s the Epley Manoeuvre 🙂

    • Linda Posted April 27, 2022 10:37 PM

      There are exercise’s for vertigo. You could probably find them on line. They really helped me.

  • Debbie Posted May 7, 2020 8:10 PM

    I would like to know what is the ratio of the plant and the vodka please and thank you.

    • Mary W Posted May 7, 2020 9:02 PM

      All I can tell you is that I packed the usnea in a jar and made sure that I covered it with vodka. It does stay under instead of floating to the top so real easy to do. Since you only use about 1/2 teaspoon in (I used orange juice) it really is a weak alcohol amount but you must determine for yourself how much to use. I read that it only broke down in alcohol which also preserved it but this article says it can be made with oil, also. All I can say is how I made it and how it helped us. There is lots of info when you google it but I think this happens to be a good article so I commented.

    • The Lost Herbs Posted May 8, 2020 3:35 PM

      Hi Debbie,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Fill a glass jar 1/3 to 1/2 full of the dried herbs you are using for your tincture, but don’t pack it down
      (amount of the herb used depends on the surface area and extractability of the herb). You can also use fresh herbs – use 2x the amount of dried herbs. Fill the jar with the alcohol, leaving ½ inch (1.25 cm) of headspace.

      God bless!

      • Joanne Posted May 9, 2020 2:36 PM

        I see many saying this grows all over the place in FL. Is it the same plant as Spanish Moss that hangs from so many trees?? Thanks

      • Mary W Posted May 9, 2020 2:46 PM

        NO not same but they grow close to each other and look similar. That is why it is important to know the characteristics of usnea. It is attached to the bark on only one place and grows with same color and curl as spanish moss which covers the branches and drapes over them. Usnea is a lichen that is attached by the one growing point not just draped over and in FL is usually much smaller. Sometimes it grows long and has been called Old Man’s Beard but normally is in smaller clumps. Always test the clump you look at to see the white strand in the center of the grey/green curl which spanish moss doesn’t have. Once you find it, you will be able to easily identify it in the future. Usnea is also very soft when attached to the branch but crisps up after the branch falls or after being picked. It also softens after being dry if it gets rained upon.

      • Joanne Posted May 9, 2020 3:09 PM

        Thank you! I need to get out and about and learn the difference. I’m new to FL, so I need a teacher to show me all the wonderful wild plants that are beneficial to us.

      • Mary W Posted May 9, 2020 3:15 PM

        My favorite teacher is the internet then my own experiences. I learn the most from my mistakes LOL.

      • Avner Man Posted September 13, 2021 8:01 PM

        you can also change the order: first put a 1/2-2/3 of alcohol, and than add the herbs until the jar is full. this way the amounts are more clear

  • Dinah Gallo Posted May 8, 2020 5:35 AM

    I also ordered the bundle when I ordered Nicole’s book. The Lost Herbs came within a decent time frame but I have never received the book bundle. My account was charged the same time as the other book. I am concerned because it was nearly $100.00.

    • Pamela Kinzey Posted January 23, 2021 6:53 AM

      The Bundle is digitally accessed only, not physical books. Go back to your e-mails and you should find how to download it to your computer.

  • Tom Ferrill Posted May 8, 2020 9:05 PM

    Can I just rinse it and eat it ???

    • Mary W Posted May 9, 2020 7:01 PM

      I tried it but tastes like sand and is as dry. I had watched another popular YT where the guy said he nibbles it when hiking just to boost his immune system but doesn’t tincture it. The good stuff is inside and really worth the effort to extract it with vodka. This article mentions using oil, also.

  • Lise Posted May 9, 2020 4:21 PM

    I don’t think usnea grows on the trees in the New England area.
    Too cold maybe.Have not seen it here.Looks like i’ll have to find it on the internet.

    • Mary W Posted May 9, 2020 7:02 PM

      I watched another YT video by a man in Pennsylvania that finds and uses it so maybe you could find it – I know it loves oak trees.

      • Barbara Lloyd Posted February 13, 2021 6:04 PM

        Also fruit trees, and sometimes on the sunless end of your home.

    • Rita Posted December 24, 2020 8:17 AM

      I live in central Vermont and find it here. Mostly growing on evergreens (spruce, pine etc.), but also on dead/dying trees of all types.

    • Julie Posted September 12, 2021 1:44 PM

      We have usnea on many trees here in northern Minnesota by Lake Superior. Maybe because of our fog? We certainly get cold.

    • David Begor Posted February 19, 2022 7:42 AM

      Lise I live in northern Vt. and have seen it and used it as a fire starter in rain. Now that I see this medicinal use , all the better.

  • Jean Pollock Posted May 9, 2020 9:37 PM

    I’ve never seen it in New England – has anyone that is reading this?

    • Rita Posted December 24, 2020 8:19 AM

      Please see above reply

    • Lauren Posted January 2, 2021 3:27 AM

      I live on an island, three miles off of the coast of Maine. Usnea drapes the limbs of dead fir and oak all along the waterfront and deeper into the forests. It does not grow as prolifically on the roadsides probably due to toxic exhaust fumes from cars. The deer eat the Usnea they can reach, so it is often eight feet off of the ground. Best harvested sustainably by picking up clusters from the ground.

    • Catharine Posted August 4, 2021 6:43 PM

      I live in Nova Scotia and I’m sure our climate is similar to yours. I have it in abundance on my property.

  • Grama Pei Posted June 19, 2020 7:53 PM

    Is the usnea washed or rinsed in water then dried before starting the process of turning it into a usable form? Or do I start with freshly gathered, off-the-tree usnea?

  • Mary W Posted June 19, 2020 8:03 PM

    I usually just put it out on a flat surface to let any bugs escape first. I’ve only seen one bug (a very tiny spider) in several years while doing this. I then stuff it in a jar (not tightly) then cover with Vodka. After it is done, you strain out all but the infused vodka and there is nothing to see in that. Not sure why there aren’t more insects but since it is usually on dead limbs, maybe there is nothing for them to eat there. I usually gather after a rain so figure all the dust is gone, also.

    • Joanne Posted August 3, 2020 2:15 AM

      So, you just strain out all but the vodka? Mine is still sitting, but it looks like muddy water. Is that how it is supposed to look? It’s my first time trying to make a tincture. Thanks

      • Mary W Posted August 3, 2020 7:32 PM

        YES, It isn’t attractive but potent! I strain it twice – once to get all the big stuff out, then again with finer sieve. I bottle it in amber bottles and don’t see the color. I usually put 1/2 teaspoon in a glass of orange juice and drink it – takes a very short time to help me. At night when a cold is the most difficult I drink it and get much needed sleep. You can take more or less depending on how it works for you. I just take it a couple days and then don’t take it again for a couple days. It enhances your own immune system so you need to let it work on it’s own before you add more usnea to help it. Good luck with your new bottle of gold!

      • Mary W Posted August 3, 2020 7:44 PM

        I also found another trick. – I have a Vick’s plant or Cuban Oregano. The leaves when crushed smell just like Vick;s Vapor Rub. I bruise them and rub them under my nose to clear congestion and then I can rub it on my chest and boil it and breathe the vapors with my head under a towel.. Just giving you a heads up. I also cook with it but it is extra potent so I use way less than greek oregano.

      • Joanne Posted August 3, 2020 8:22 PM

        Wow! Thanks Mary for the info. I will keep it all in mind. My friend just gave me a cutting from her Cuban Oregano; I hope I can keep it alive! ha ha I’m not sure what a “green thumb” looks like…I’m still trying to find mine. 🙂

  • Donna Crider Posted July 24, 2020 3:31 PM

    I L.O.V.E. this book. If I could only have one book, this is it. I have three tinctures-in-making sitting on my kitchen counter, wild lettuce, fireweed, and yarrow. I’ve made two salves, yarrow and comfrey-plaintain. Usnea will be the next. I didn’t download my digital books right away, had a computer problem, and lost all my emails from February thru the end of May., including my receipt from ClickBank with the links. Is there a way you can assist?

    • Jack David Beynon Posted June 24, 2021 4:47 PM

      How do you make your tinctures
      Would like to know ingredients

  • Quinton Liley Posted July 25, 2020 2:49 PM

    Wow, this post is nice, my sister is analyzingsuch things, therefore I am going to convey her.

  • Joshua Beecher Posted August 2, 2020 12:46 PM

    I’m brand new at this. I keep finding spanish moss, I thought it was usnea at first and made a tincture. Is this useless? I live in Parrish FL, I have been actively looking for usnea and have had no luck. How do I find find Usnea?

    • Joanne Posted August 2, 2020 1:12 PM

      Hi Joshua. I live in Riverside, FL, about 1/2 hour from you. I can’t find any either. Lots of spanish moss, but no usnea. We’ll have to keep looking I guess. I bought some on Etsy , but it was dried up. I am making a tincture with it but would rather find some fresh.

      • Joanne Posted August 2, 2020 1:13 PM

        Sorry….I meand RIVERVIEW, FL

      • Joshua Posted August 2, 2020 1:19 PM

        Thanks, I’m going to keep looking. If I find some I will share with you

      • Mary W Posted August 2, 2020 4:25 PM

        Please see my response just above your comment. Good luck!

    • Mary W Posted August 2, 2020 4:24 PM

      I find most of mine on the ground attached to dead limbs that fell during a rain storm. It is bright green when wet. I think soaking it in water should revive the ‘dead’ pieces. I always collect it immediately after a storm since I don’t want it ‘watered’ by dogs LOL. If you have dead branches fall, test some of the soft green ‘moss’ that is attached – it has only one connect point to the dead branch and when you gently pull on a strand, you will see the white latex core once it pulls apart. It is everywhere once you identify it, even living right next to Spanish moss. Once you learn it, you will notice it all over. Good luck.

      • Mary W Posted August 2, 2020 4:29 PM

        It is most commonly found in the dead branches of oak trees.

  • Joshua Posted August 2, 2020 6:25 PM

    Thank you Mary! I will definitely keep that in mind when looking

  • Joanne Posted August 5, 2020 2:20 PM

    Not sure what you mean Overtaken?

  • momof4spoiled1s Posted August 5, 2020 9:09 PM

    Anybody have a good reference on where to purchase high quality usnea tincture or extract.

  • Raquel Posted December 1, 2020 9:59 PM

    Hi! I’m new to this so excuse the elementary level question, but what kind of vodka do you recommend?

    • The Lost Herbs Posted December 2, 2020 1:54 PM

      Hi Raquel,

      Thank you for your comment.
      Here’s how to use different proofs when making tinctures:
      80 proof vodka: Considered standard for most tinctures, 80 proof vodka should be used on fresh and dried herbs that don’t have a high moisture content (such as bay, dill, fennel, sage, and thyme).
      80 proof vodka + 190 proof grain alcohol (use a 1:1 ratio): A higher alcohol content helps extract more volatile plant compounds, especially when using herbs with higher moisture content (such as oregano, parsley, basil, cilantro, mint, and sage).
      190 proof grain alcohol: Grain alcohol is typically used for dissolving gums and plant resins found in barks and dried plant matter. While it more easily extracts essential oils and aromatics in plants, it also makes for a stronger-tasting tincture, which some people find hard to take. It may also dehydrate your herbs, affecting the quality of your tincture in the long run.

      You can check this recipe for Usnea Tincture:
      https://thelostherbs.com/how-to-make-usnea-tincture-for-respiratory-support/

      God bless!

      • Amanda Posted August 4, 2021 12:36 PM

        Do you think Adding stevia to the alcohol while it’s sitting to improve taste or would it decrease affectedness??

  • Mary W Posted January 5, 2021 2:45 AM

    Jill, thanks for the Dock name information. Not sure how to respond just to you but will try adding this at bottom of all posts. I’ll go look it up to see how it works as I’ve found more growing this summer and have an active 5 year old grandson running around. Need to know what to do in the likely case he finds a flower to bring me. LOL

    • Pamela Kinzey Posted January 23, 2021 7:05 AM

      Yellow dock leaves are handy to crush and rub on anytime you are outside and get stung by a wasp, fire ant, etc. It’s a common weed in Ga. Then when you go inside, cut a slice of juicy onion and hold that on. The sooner the better.

  • Paul Jessup Posted January 25, 2021 6:57 AM

    I’ve heard tell of natives using this for food and medicinal purposes. Is this the same lichen that when in it’s black form on trees is poisonous but when this green tent it’s fine? Is that the same lichen?

  • Anita Nash Posted February 1, 2021 2:53 PM

    So excited to learn about this. Does vinegar work well as an extraction method? I prefer not to have alcohol in the house. If so, what kind is recommended?

  • Anne jennings Posted February 11, 2021 5:24 PM

    As a method for delivering the medicinal value of herbs into your body, vinegar tinctures offer exactly the same value as alcohol-based tinctures. … Herbal tinctures with a vinegar base also have a broader range of use than alcohol-based tinctures—you can use them as a dressing over cooked greens or salads, for example.Jan 9, 2020

    • Anita Posted February 16, 2021 3:25 PM

      Thank you!!

    • NTK Posted March 28, 2021 10:02 AM

      Thanks Anne. This helps a lot since I’d rather not use alcohol. Do you have any knowledge or experience using vegetable glycerin for tinctures?

    • Tioma Fern Posted October 11, 2021 8:55 AM

      Greetings Anne! I was trained to understand that alcohol-based tinctures are more effective at bringing alkaloids into solution while vinegar-based tinctures have superior effectiveness at extracting minerals. Would you agree?

  • Malikah Posted February 24, 2021 10:44 PM

    Thank you so much for the question and answer, “if vinegar could be used in place of alcohol” in the treatment preparation. I was wondering about the second part of the question, is there a particular vinegar that may work better than others?

  • Louise Posted May 29, 2021 1:47 PM

    I have a question. You mentioned that the reason you use alcohol is to extract the chemicals better from the plant. There are many recovering alcoholics who cannot use alcohol so need alternative ways to extract. I was wondering if you could dry (dehydrate), then grind the plant to a powder to break down the cell walls for extraction? That way you could use it as a tea or with some other substrate such as glycerine or vinegar to get better extraction.

  • patricia liverman Posted May 29, 2021 8:54 PM

    Thank you for all of this info. I am new to making tinctures, but was introduced to essential oils about 25 years ago and was very fortunate to have discovered Original Swiss Aromatics by Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy at about the same time. PIA is still one of the best companies in terms of oil integrity in the USA and has a long history of sound relationships with oil producers from all over the world. I am very grateful to have found them because I am fully convinced their oils are free from any adulteration and that fact is rare in the EO market of today.
    I am also of the same mind as the comments on this blog that believe God has given his children everything in nature that we need for medicine.
    I have a 17 year old dog who is still alive because of the herb tinctures I purchase for his kidneys from Five Leaf Pet Botanicals.
    Now that I have found this blog I can begin to learn about the making of tinctures. I hope all of you are truly blessed.

  • Dave Eckelkamp Posted July 2, 2021 4:45 PM

    Nicole,
    Not sure if I need to contact you or clickbank. Lightning struck and computer flashed before I was able to download digital product. Never received confirmation email. Can you send me a link?

    • The Lost Herbs Posted July 6, 2021 5:36 PM

      Hi Dave,

      Please check your email address. I have sent you the download link.

      God bless!

      • Liz Posted September 9, 2021 11:56 AM

        Hi there, where in South African can I find this growing? I specifically live in the Northern Cape, Kimberley area.

        Thanks!

  • Kathryn LoMeli Posted August 29, 2021 4:50 PM

    Can I use Gin instead of Vodka (have a bad reaction to Vodka)
    as alcohol for tincture.

  • Angela Davis Posted September 24, 2021 1:27 AM

    The article mentions extraction can be accomplished with oil and heat also. Sounds like something I would use instead of alcohol. How is this done?

  • Corinne Posted October 4, 2021 2:59 PM

    In the article it metions you can grind it into a powder for poultices for wounds. Has anyone tried this? I noticed most comments were regarding making tinctures.

  • Paul Posted October 19, 2021 11:08 PM

    Ha! You think recovering alcoholics have it bad? Try having acute intermittent porphyria; one beer without highly specialized emergency room treatment would literally kill me within fifteen minutes! Needless to say an alcohol tincture is worse than useless to me – would somebody pass along more information on other methods for extracting the medicinal components of usnea?

  • Jess Posted November 7, 2021 11:08 PM

    After reading about how Usnea doesn’t do well around pollution, i was concerned i wouldn’t be able to find easily in my area (geography where i live creates an inversion effect, and the air gets very bad).

    But after searching images for identification, i am once again gratified about my intuition with plants increasing.

    I’ve been looking at these little “beard-like” thing on trees, while driving around, and for the last several months, have been wondering what they are. Now, there answer presents itself, right when i need it most. (Husband and i are battling the first bad cold since having covid 10 months ago, and both of us are really having lingering lung issues).

    I had a similar experience with Plantain weed sticking out in my mind, for months, and i didnt know why. When i had finally come across it enough, i did some research and realized it was the remedy for an issue I’d been struggling with.

    Nature is amazing; especially the ways it finds to communicate with us. Time to find some usnea.

  • Charity Carlton Posted December 3, 2021 4:03 PM

    I live in Kansas and sure we don’t have this. Where can one get this plant?

  • JerryJo Posted December 5, 2021 4:51 PM

    Have you ever heard this could be beneficial for rosacea? I take a low dose of doxycycline now for it every day, always… So I would love to be able to do something more natural but I’m not sure how much of I have to do it daily…

  • Kris Posted January 15, 2022 7:52 PM

    Is Usnea also know as Old Man’s Beard? I’m thinking “Yes?”

    • The Lost Herbs Posted March 4, 2022 2:24 PM

      Hi Kris,

      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes, you are right, Usnea is also known as Methuselah’s beard and old man’s beard.

      Many blessings and good health!

  • Jim Posted May 16, 2022 2:51 PM

    What are the best alternatives for creating a tincture if you cannot consume alcohol?

  • Susan Posted November 26, 2022 12:13 AM

    I live inland of CA’s Central Coast, surrounded by oak trees, covered in – not Spanish moss, which we’ve all thought for years —but Lace Lichen (ramalina menziesii). Does it have any therapeutic uses? (Was hoping it was Usnea;)

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