Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

Radically Natural Remedies: Usnea Tincture

aka: How Hubby's Hunting Helps Healing
(A little alliteration to brighten your day.)

When your husband invests time, effort, money and resources into elk hunting, but comes home empty handed, it can be a discouraging endeavour.  But when he comes home with fistfuls of Usnea, the herbalist in you says, "Elk?  What elk?"

As fall comes to a close, I've gone on a bit of a binge.  The owner of the liquor store raises his eyebrows at the cases of brandy and vodka ("suuuurre...you're making MEDicine...riiighht..."), and the neighbors do a double take when they see the empty bottles standing next to the trash can.  But when it's tincture making time, the alcohol must flow!

I plan in the next weeks to write a series on botanical medicine making, discussing tinctures and oils, and recipes for natural body and home care.  I will share my cogitations about and personal preferences on choosing a menstrum (the liquid in which you steep the herbs for tincture making).

For now, I leave you with a simple recipe for making a potent broad spectrum antibiotic.  Also known as Old Man's Beard, Usnea (OOS-nay-ah or oos-NAY-ah) is a lichen with properties of both a fungus and an algae.  It is effective against gram positive bacterias, such as streps and staphs.

The medicinal constituents of Usnea are not easily extractable in water, so an alcohol tincture is the best preparation.  To make a tincture, fill a jar with the Usnea (fresh or dried...though "fresh" harvested Usnea is already pretty dry) and then pour a minimum of 80 proof alcohol to the top of the jar.  Don't stuff the Usnea into the jar, just pack loosely.  And leave a bit of head room at the top of the jar when filling with alcohol.  

If you don't have access to wildcrafted Usnea, order some from Mountain Rose Herbs.  (If you use the shopping links on my blog, I will earn a small commission...and I thank you!)  To learn more about Usnea, please check out my post about healing sore throats and coughs.  And look at the info on this powerhouse healer at Susun Weed's site, as well as the Eat the Weeds post regarding Usnea identification.

EWWHerbals                                                                              "Every wise woman builds her house..."  Proverbs 14:1

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