As herbalist Ryan Drum once said: Usnea is among our best herbal antibiotics against gram positive bacteria, particularly Streptococci and Staphylococci, both internally and externally.
Usnea is tree-moss, a lichen, which is a symbiotic relationship between an algae and a fungus. While usnea is certainly an herb, it’s not a plant! It grows on trees around the world. It especially likes pine, spruce, juniper, firs and hardwoods like oak, hickory, walnut, apple and pear. It prefers moist habitats.
Usnea is useful for many applications such as, infections, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, sore throat, fungal infections, vaginal infections, sinus infections, colds/flu, mastitis, and boils.
Looking at the above list of uses for usnea you might guess that this is one powerful herb, and it is!
I use this powerful herb in my Anti-Fungal Salve. Not just a pinch but as one of the main ingredient. My salve was tested by Jim Stivaly* in Montclair, NJ, who practices biofeedback and other holistic modalities, and he indicated that it is one strong anti-fungal salve.
Brief History on Usnea
In Chinese Medicine several types of Usnea were used. The specific indications were for infections with signs of heat and dampness: redness, yellow pus, fast pulse, etc. Today Usnea is used for infections of all types even without indications of heat.
Today Usnea is used as an antibacterial herb, an antiviral herb, and as an antifungal herb.
- Usnea as an antibacterial herb
Usnea is an anti-microbial herb, meaning that it effects a wide range of pathogens. It is not an antibiotic herb that kills all types of bacteria; it effects mainly gram positive bacteria. It can effectively kill unwanted pathogens without totally disrupting healthy gut flora!
- Usnea as an antiviral herb
Herbalist Kiva Rose says it best – The Usnea are their own delicate medicinal miracles. They have a special affinity for rebalancing bacteria and eradicating infection throughout the mucus membranes, from mouth to lungs to gut to urinary tract and on. This medicine is a special gift for those with signs of infection in the lungs and bronchial area, often indicated by yellow or green phlegm, chest pain, difficulty breathing and sometimes accompanied by a fever.
- Usnea as an antifungal herb
Usnea is effective at killing many types of fungal infections, including Candida species. It can be taken internally as well as used topically.
Here are some examples of fungal infections that you may use usnea for: athlete’s foot, jock itch, dandruff, ringworm, vaginal infections, etc.
- Homeopathic Version of Usnea
In HomeopathyUsnea Barbata (known as tree-moss) is a remedy used in some form of congestive headache; headache from sunstroke. Head - Bursting feeling, AS IF TEMPLES WOULD BURST, OR THE EYES BURST OUT OF THE SOCKETS. Throbbing carotids. It is one of those remedies that has a limited or specific use for these types of headaches.
It is very interesting to see how the uses in herbology, chinese medicine and homeopathy can differ but have similar relationships.
I can not personally speak for a painful fungal infection, never had one, but I can ascertain that from the various conditions Usnea is used for there must be a connection with a bursting throbbing headache, and throbbing in general in fungal infections.
When I infuse Usnea in oil, it looks like tightly wound brains, that are throbbing. I also infuse Usnea as a powder with the whole herb which makes it even stronger.This is what my Herbal Infused Usnea Oil looks like.
Nature is bountiful, useful, and healing in all sorts of ways.
PS: Strega Nonna's Vapo Rub and Winter Brew available in stores now and online.
*JAMES STIVALY can be reached at 973-746-8007. His website will be up and running soon and I will post it in my next blog.