As I Explore the Woods Near my Home
When I went for my walk in the woods today, it was the first time I had been round the trail in a while... The rains and the cold make me look for more indoor projects. I felt disoriented at first by the now open, huge and dead-ness of the wooded area, I was beginning to feel a little mawkish for the summer cause there was nothing but brown dead leaves to look at on the ground, and alot of briers to get caught on my clothes. Until I came on a wonderful bright green lichen ( a fuzzy wuzzy fungus ) called Usnea! I learned about this plant many years ago at a'wellness weeds' class, that it was a natural remedy for strep throat, but I found my curiosity was peeked to truly ensure this was the same usnea sold in health food stores and loved by wildcrafting herbalists living in small homes. So, while looking up data on identification, I found a neat trick in ensuring it is actually Usnea and not some other look alike lichen! Break open the main stem and check for a white middle, kinda like peeling the bark off a tree and seeing the lighter color inner wood underneath. Usnea's inner stem is a white strip. I broke mine open and found the white!
Here is some medical info on this cool tiny lichen::
'Usnea has been employed medicinally for at least 1000 years. Usnic acid ( C18H16O7 ), a powerful antibiotic and antifungal agent is in most species. This, combined with the hairlike structure of the lichen, implies that Usnea lent itself well to treating surface wounds when sterile gauze and modern antibiotics were not available. It is also edible and high in vitamin C.
In modern American natural medicine, Usnea is essentially utilized in lung and upper respiratory tract infections, and urinary tract infections.
Usnea lichen is vital to note because it has life-saving potential. First Americans employed it as a compress to severe battle wounds to stop infection and gangrene, and it was also taken internally to battle infections. Usnea contains powerful antibiotics which can halt infection and are broad spectrum and effective against all gram-positive and tuberculosis bacterial species, providing protection for children in baby cribs. Usnea has a couple of unique traits which make its identification straightforward if marooned in the wilderness a long way from a hospice.