Overuse of antibiotics has been a matter of concern in recent years. Even to normally healthy people overuse of antibiotics is risky. Inappropriate use or overuse of these medicines might contribute in creating a resistance to the medication which was otherwise created to heal. Though prescription antibiotics do have their place and benefit. Taking antibiotics may also cause uncomfortable and serious side effects like rashes, nausea, and potentially fatal c. diff colitis and sensitivity to the sun.
Now people are turning towards natural remedies and antibiotics like usnea. To be specific just like prescription antibiotics, natural and homegrown antibiotics might cause side effects or they might be harmful to certain people. But in comparison to prescription antibiotics, usnea is completely free from unhealthy chemicals and the best part is you might be able to find this herb right in your own backyard. You may also check these extremely powerful natural antibiotic which grow around your house and are little known to mankind.
Usnea: Its Literal Meaning
Being a fairly common and intriguing lichen, usnea is found in many forests and woods across the world. Merriam-Webster describes lichen as: “any numerous complex plantlike organisms made up of an alga or a cyanobacterium and a fungus growing in symbiotic association on a solid surface (such as on a rock or the bark of trees).” Having a body with a netted hair like texture the usnea lichen is developed through a mutual relationship which occurs between fungus and algae.
Different types of species are available for usnea lichen all over the world but the one with the highest degree of medicinal value is termed as Old Man’s Beard, because of its appearance. This species is often found on trees which could be identified while lightly pulling apart the main branch of the lichen. Identification of usnea is simple as the green outside layer will break and stretchy white substance found inside would be exposed and it should remain intact. This species is rarely found within the city limits as it is ultra sensitive to polluted air.
Uses of Usnea and Its Medicinal Value
Egyptian, Chinese and Greek healers had been using usnea for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Usnea is neither a recent or temporary fad nor a new plant; in fact, this herb has been around for a very long time which was used for healing people with certain ailments. The outer portion of the lichen holds antibiotic composites which are termed as the cortex, and the inner part known as thallus contains a substance which helps in stimulating the immune system.
The following ailments and conditions are thought to benefit from the application of usnea.
• Weight Loss
• Inflammation, and
• Yeast Infections
People with human papillomavirus (HPV) have also noticed some benefits while using some form of usnea. It is advised that usnic acid (a product found in usnea) along with zinc sulfate should be applied to the virginal area prior to and after the surgical removal of HPV liaisons. This might help in speeding up the healing process and the chances of reoccurrence of infection might diminish.
Usnea had been used globally since ages for various purposes and this plant has eluded various herbal traditions which solely focused on vascular plants. However, it is believed that usnic acid can interrupt the cellular system of Gram-positive bacteria including Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, but the necessary natural microbiota is left intact.
Often associated with respiratory and urinary tract infections usnea is considered as a particularly formidable medicinal tool for inflammation and dampness. If applied topically it can also be effective while fighting against fungal infections like Candida and MRSA.
Usnea could also prove as a wonderful remedy for infected wounds like cellulite. Its drying and cooling attributes may help in reducing heat and redness stemming from infection. The lichen is often applied directly to an open wound to fight infection because of its natural antimicrobial properties. Usnea can be used as a powder after it is dried or it can be mixed with water to form a mixture before application
It is also possible to use usnea spray which could be applied on areas where fungus might be lingering. Such areas may include feet, toes, and nails.
Methods to Find and Develop Usnea into an Antibiotic
This medicinal herb is applicable both internally and externally and it can be developed into the following forms.
- A tincture or extract
- Mouthwash while mixing water with usnea tincture
- Cough lozenges
- As salve for wound dressing for external us
These forms are available in the market but there are possibilities of preparing your own usnea antibiotic. The first thing you need to do is simply walk into the woods and search for usnea. You may often find it on the trees or it may be lying on the ground after falling from the trees. Similar to an overgrown beard your work is to see for hair like growths. Once found, place it on cotton or paper while carrying it back home. Now you will have various options of creating a viable antibiotic and treatment to be used for various ailments.
As usnic acid is not at all water soluble the best way is to extract it in alcohol, heat or oil. The extraction method might differ depending upon which form you are trying to create. In case you are preparing a tincture or extract, simply place usnea into a jar and cover it with vodka. Let the mix sit for few months and then strain it into a dropper bottle.
In case you have doubts or questions regarding the preparation like where to find the herb, how to make the proper form and how to apply it then consulting an herbalist would be beneficial.