(Usnea sp.) 1 oz. brown glass bottle (Three month cold infusion of the fresh, ground Usnea lichen in virgin olive oil, strained and bottled). Infused Usnea Oil is used topically as an antibiotic and antifungal.
Ingredients: Usnea lichen, extra virgin olive oil.
Constituents: Usnic acid, mucilage.
Usnea, also known as old man’s beard, is not a plant but lichen—a symbiotic relationship between an algae and a fungus. The entire lichen is used. Usnea looks like long, fuzzy strings hanging from trees in North American and European forests, where it grows. This particular species of Usnea, common to our area, is medium-sized tufted shrub lichen, pale yellowish green in color. It is highly branched, bearing numerous short side branches, reinforced by a tough, white, central cord. Usnea grows over trees and shrubs, preferring old growth forest conifers in shady areas.
Usnea is very slow growing and therefore, should not be harvested off of living trees. It is best to take what is offered after a windstorm has blown down tree branches or what has naturally fallen to the ground. Europe has already depleted their resources for Usnea due to over harvesting.
Historic Notes: "Usnea" was the name given particularly to the moss or mildew that grew upon the skulls of the dead. Of particular value was that from the skull of a man who had been hanged, especially if 'hung in chains.' It was an important ingredient in the 'sympathetic ointment' with which the weapon that had produced a wound was anointed, for the purpose of curing the wound itself." [from Annals of the History of Medicine VI]. Usnea was reportedly used over 3,000 years ago in ancient Egypt, Greece, and China to treat infections.