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Usnea - The Lungs of the Forest

What is Usnea? By : Laura Murphy

Usnea (Usnea sp.) - Old mans beard or otherwise known as "The Lungs of the Forest"

Plant Family - Parmeliaceae

Parts used - The whole lichen

Constituents - Usneic Acid, Mucilage, Polysaccharides, Fatty Acids, Vitamin C

Energetic - Cooling and Drying

Therapeutic actions - Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, astringent, tonic


Usnea, a lichen, a combination of algae and fungi functioning as a single organism. Found amongst the trees in moist and cool forests with the purest of air qualities especially in the Pacific Northwest. You can find Usnea hanging from tree limbs looking like a beard; hence one of its common names "Old Mans Beard". Usnea has long, flexible gray green threads and readily identifiable by its elastic central cord running through the middle.

Used for its wellness supporting qualities, Usnea, is an infection fighter to say the least. With its energetics being cooling and drying, Usnea, is particularly effective to clear heat, move damp, and resolve toxicity. Great for "smokers cough". Having a profound affinity for the respiratory - which is no surprise considering its Latin name means “Lungs of the Forest”- it has the ability to relax and sooth muscles especially in the bronchi. Having an affinity for treating gram-positive bacteria like strep, impetigo, and tuberculosis and is an effective immune system tonic that helps protect the body from cold and flu.

Usnea has also been great for addressing acute complaints in bladder, kidney, and urinary tract. As an antifungal, it can be used for common female imbalances like vaginal candida.

Applied externally, Usnea, can help prevent infection in wounds, bites and stings. This lichen is a powerful drawer of toxins. It can be pulverized and applied to wounds as an herbal first aid poultice.

Usnea Safety Considerations :

Usnea is generally considered safe, even for long term use at appropriate dosage


Find this lichen in our Restore tincture! We produced this tincture to support mindful consumption. Being aware and in tune with your bodies needs while partaking in ritual smoking can enhance your overall well being.

Disclosure:This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.


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