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Or to really kick a sinus infection. Lichens on trees provide valuable microhabitats, shelter and food for various small invertebrates. Take it internally as well to help fight the virus off. Commonly called Old Man’s Beard. In some areas, it was used as a fire-starter as it's flammable when dry and crisp. Before a certain time period all lichens were referred to as the same herb, so it’s hard to distinguish how usnea in particular was used. Usnea species have been used medicinally for over a thousand years. I find this very fascinatng, but usnea works as a powerful antibiotic WITHOUT killing the good bacteria in the gut like over the counter ones do. Common name(s): beard lichen, old man’s beard, string of sausages lichen, Scientific name: Usnea species (including Usnea articulata, U. ceratina, U. cornuta, U. filipendula, U. florida, U. rubicunda, U. subfloridana), Habitat: tree trunks, branches and twigs often high in the canopy. Usnea grows on trees, specifically pine, spruce, juniper and fir trees along with oak, hickory, walnut, apple and pear. It is often found in the limbs of an open forest, along the edges of wooded areas, and is a prime candidate for “windfall foraging” after a storm. Get the low-down on ancient trees and where to find them in the UK. Usnea is a lichen. Look closely at the branches and twigs of trees in old woodlands. (This is great news if you struggle with cold sores!). Be sure to harvest in places you are welcome, and places that are away from polluted areas such as busy roads. Strain off and drink up to 3 times a day. A dazzling array of shapes, sizes and colours. Usnea filipendula and U. hirta are the beard lichens that grow mostly in the north of the UK. Get support for cleansing and detoxifying with Usnea liquid extract from Herb Pharm. To ensure you have the correct plant do the strand test. A more common name for usnea is Old Man's Beard because of the way it hangs from trees. Beard lichens once occurred on trees throughout the UK. The Woodland Trust and Woodland Trust Nature Detectives logos are registered trademarks. Usnea lichen is harvested all the time to be used as an ingredient in a variety of products, from toothpaste and sunscreen to antibiotic ointment and deodorant. Remember in grade school the little ditty about Alice the Algae and Freddie the Fungi got to "Lichen" each other?? This includes colds, flu and chronic fatigue syndrome. Two common names for Usnea are “Old Man’s Beard” and “The Lungs of The Forest”. This allows me to keep posting great content for you. The bushy Usnea florida can be found in well-wooded parts of southern and southwest England, Wales and the Welsh Marches, and northern England and Scotland. Woodland Trust (Enterprises) Limited, registered in England (No. There are several varieties of Usnea. Allow to steep for several minutes. By purchasing through one of my affiliate links you will not spend a penny more, but you are allowing me to receive a small commission. They are less likely to be found than beard lichens across most of the UK, and horsehair lichens tend to be a bit finer, and often more brownish in colour. Ancient woodland has grown and adapted with native wildlife, yet what remains only covers 2.5% of the UK. The best way to identify Usnea is to pull a string apart and look for this white thread. At the first sign of a cold sore, I place a dropperful of the tincture onto a cotton ball and hold it directly on the area. Usnea is a lichen; a combination of an algae and a fungus growing together. Images © protected Woodland Trust. In Chinese Medicine several types of Usnea were used. My favorite use for usnea is in tincture form. Home to myth and legend, where folk tales began. Find out about fungi and lichens, from ancient taboos to magic and medicine. Like beard lichens, these are intolerant of air pollution and Bryoria horsehair lichens have declined significantly over recent decades. Over 70 species found in the UK, from all the native trees to the common non-natives. ***Usnea contains usnic acid which some people are extremely allergic to. The specific indications were for infections with signs of heat and dampness: redness, yellow pus, fast pulse, etc. Lichens, or lichenised fungi, are organisms formed by the symbiosis of a fungus species and one or more other organism, usually an alga. Help us get 50 million trees in the ground. Alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial. Though lichens appear to be single plants, they are really a combination of fungus and algae that grow together for their mutual benefit. Around here, that means spring is a great time to start looking! They can also be hosts for other species of parasitic fungi. 2296645), is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Woodland Trust. This lichen is common throughout the Northern Hemisphere and particularly enjoys growing on fir, pine, oak, and … We want to make sure everyone in the UK has the chance to plant a tree. It was traditionally used to treat wounds; Native Americans used it as a compress to prevent infection and gangrene. Making an infused oil from usnea can be used topically for skin infections. 294344) and in Scotland (No. Lichens provide valuable ecosystem services such as carbon cycling and water retention. And honest to goodness it seems to shorten the duration of the nasty bugger. Beard lichens are known as fruticose lichens, which grow like mini shrubs or tassels anchored onto the bark of tree trunks and branches. Registered in England No. If you have never been introduced to usnea you are in for a treat! It’s difficult for us to know how this particular herb was used in European history. Beard lichens can be found throughout the UK and Ireland, especially in areas with clean air. It is an easy one to forage if you're lucky to have it by you. In other words, usnea does not mess with our body's natural flora. How long do trees live? Also works on healing urinary, kidney and bladder infections.Women may find usnea helpful in getting rid of a yeast infection or chlamydia. You'll find Usnea florida on old tree trunks in southern and southwest England, Wales and the Welsh Marches, northern England and Scotland. Beard lichens are intolerant of air pollution so only grow in woodlands with clear air. :). This makes it a true gem. Please take care while harvesting usnea as it is extremely slow growing and could easily become over-harvested. Also known as Old Man's beard, it grows in little hair-like tufts, with the green algae covering the white string like fungus. Usnea can be harvested year around even in the winter. Because of the antiviral property, usnea is greatly beneficial in fighting off herpes. Lichens also provide many other ecosystem services such as carbon cycling and water retention. However, since Usnea is nearly impossible to find in field guides and rarely in herb books, I recommend showing a sample to a … If you are unable to grow your own herbs, or find ingredients locally, then here are two of my favorite places to buy bulk ingredients: Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates. It's effective against bacteria including Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and tuberculosis. Even though it may look like a parasite hanging from the trees, it is actually extremely beneficial to trees and helps extend their life by bringing in more oxygen. Usnea looks very similar to the epiphytic flowering plant known as Spanish moss (which is neither a moss nor a lichen!). Credit: Alastair Hotchkiss / WTML Usnea articulata is also known as 'string of sausages lichen'. A non-profit-making company limited by guarantee. Parts used and how to identify. How old before they're ancient? Now that you know all the wonderful benefits of usnea, here are some ideas to get you started in using it! But other species are typically found in different parts of the UK. But the impacts of past sulphur-dioxide pollution and continued nitrogen air pollution from agriculture have resulted in their loss. The grayish green outer layer (the algae) should break while revealing an inner white elastic-like strand (the fungi). Usnea can be used in place of, or along with, echinacea to build immunity in the body. Keep in touch with the nature you love without having to leave the house. GB520 6111 04. That is why harvesting from fallen branches is so imperative. Externally, the tincture is a powerful healer and helps clear up cuts, wounds, fungal infections and impetigo (skin infection). You can also make a tea from the lichen, but in my opinion, it doesn’t taste that great. Thanks for your support! Types of mushroom in the UK: common identification guide, Top tips for an eco-friendly and sustainable Christmas, Staying safe in our woods during the pandemic. Simply moisten a strand of the usnea and gently tug at both ends. Simply moisten a strand of the usnea and gently … You'll find Usnea florida on old tree trunks in southern and southwest England, Wales and the Welsh Marches, northern England and Scotland. VAT No. Autumn leaf identification quiz: can you identify these 10 trees? Today Usnea is used for infections o… Usnea is a lichen and the entire lichen is used. Lichens play an important role in the ecology of woodlands. To assure optimal extraction & concentration of Usnea's usnic acid and other bioactive compounds, we custom extract the lichens with our special double-extraction process. They are all pale grey-green, and some produce striking disc-like fruit bodies. I do this several times during the first onset of a cold sore. Registered office: Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL. Lichens on trees provide important micro-habitats, shelter and food for various small invertebrates. It fuelled our ancestors and still houses thousands. Dripping off the trees in clean-air woodlands, these bushy beard lichens adorn the branches and trunks and are some of our most conspicuous and beautiful lichens. (It's great at fighting off upper respiratory conditions.). Usnea grows on trees, specifically pine, spruce, juniper and fir trees along with oak, hickory, walnut, apple and pear. A good idea is to gather the lichen from wind-fallen branches. Usnea is a type of lichen that grows on trees. Usnea articulata is also known as 'string of sausages lichen'. SC038885). These in turn are prey for larger insects and birds. To make it use 2 tablespoons of usnea to one cup hot water. Beard lichens are also known as ‘fruticose’ lichens, and they grow like mini shrubs or tassels on the bark of tree trunks and branches. This includes internal and external applications. Beard lichens have also been used to make cosmetics, preservatives and deodorants. The pendulous Usnea ceratina and U. articulata (shown here and known as string of sausages lichen) can be seen in the southwest of the UK. Owned subsidiary of the UK has the chance to plant a tree an algae and Freddie the fungi got ``! Are really a combination of an algae and Freddie the fungi ) low-down on ancient trees and where to them. Native Americans used it as a compress to prevent infection and gangrene to `` lichen '' each other?... Can be harvested year around even in the UK and Ireland, especially in areas with clean air occurred. With signs of heat and dampness: redness, yellow pus, fast pulse, etc are all grey-green... And branches of parasitic fungi while revealing an inner white elastic-like strand ( the fungi ) both.. The ground seems to shorten the duration of the UK and Ireland, in! 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