Antibiotics such as doxycycline are important drugs designed to successfully treat infections caused by bacteria and certain parasites. Their purpose is to prevent the spread of disease or reduce serious disease complications.
However, the overuse or inappropriate use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance meaning the drug may not work against some strains of bacteria.
In the U.S. alone, 2.8 million people develop antibiotic-resistant infections each year causing approximately 35,000 deaths from those infections. An additional concern of misusing antibiotics includes any number of side effects. There can be severe allergic reactions or the disruption of the microbiome when normal bacteria in the body are killed off which can lead to diarrhea and even death.
Why Use A Natural Remedy Instead Of A Drug?
Sometimes it’s not safe to use certain medicines (prescription and over-the-counter) at the same time. They may interact with the antibiotic or lead to an allergy for the patient.
These reasons have led to an increased number of people learning about and using natural remedies and antibiotics such as usnea.
Although natural antibiotics can also cause side effects, they don’t have the added unhealthy chemicals and usually the high costs associated with the manufactured pharmaceutical options.
What’s more? You might be able to find a natural antibiotic right in your backyard!
What Is Usnea?
That’s right… usnea, a species of lichens which are a combination of algae and fungus that grow on host trees throughout the world primarily in forest regions of moist, cooler climates. Usnea is found abundantly in the northern hemisphere in the more temperate regions, especially in the coastal rainforest and sub-arctic areas.
Known as beard moss, beard lichen, old man’s beard, woman’s long hair, tree dandruff, or just as tree moss, the usnea lichen’s body looks like a netted hair-like structure. If you are unsure about the identification, lightly pull the main branch of the lichen apart. Do you see a stretchy white band substance inside the green outside layer? Then it’s most likely usnea.
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Possible Medicinal Value And Uses Of Usnea
Usnea has a long history of medicinal use beginning with the Egyptian, Greek, and Chinese healers over 2,000 years ago. They discovered that the outer portion (the cortex) of the lichen held antibiotic composites and the inner part (the thallus) contained a particular substance that stimulated the immune system. The mutual benefit of the algae and fungus assisted in making the medicine.
Several common conditions and ailments have been thought to benefit from the use of usnea: weight loss, inflammation, fever, and yeast infection. Some individuals with HPV have also found a benefit by applying the product containing the usnic acid (found in usnea) and zinc sulfate to the vaginal area prior to and after the surgical removal of HPV lesions; this increased the healing process and reduced the chances of the infection to recur.
The healing properties of usnea have also been known to treat warts, maintain a healthy gut, build up immunity against several viruses, alleviate symptoms of respiratory diseases (e.g., pneumonia, bronchitis, cough, and congestion), and reduce the toxicity of snake bites.
How Do You Apply Usnea?
Usnea can be used for infected wounds. When applied topically as a wound dressing, usnea helps to reduce the inflammation and redness of the infection.
It can be mixed with water and applied directly to the skin or used as a powder once it had been dried. A spray form could be used as well.
There are other forms of usnea developed as an antibiotic. These include cough lozenges, a tincture or extract, or a mouthwash to gargle by mixing the water with a usnea tincture. Some of these forms can be found in a health store or you can make your own.
Tips To Gather The Usnea Lichen
First, you need to locate usnea on your property or take a walk through the woods. Look on the tree trunks, the pine tree branches, dead trunks, and on the ground after it may have fallen from the trees. Pay careful attention to hair-like growths that look like an overgrown beard. Gather the lichen and place it on a cloth, paper plate, or in a clean bag for transporting back home. Then you can use the lichen to make an appropriate antibiotic and treatment for any condition and ailment mentioned above.
Methods To Use Usnea
Topical Use As Anti-Bacterial Cream To Treat Wounds
- Materials: shea buttercream/petroleum jelly, usnea.
- Procedure: Take one part of this herb and add to five times the amount of shea buttercream or petroleum jelly.
- Rub on the infected area daily.
Tincture To Treat Respiratory Diseases And Cough
- Materials: usnea, water, pure organic cane/grain alcohol (use 1:5 combination of 1 oz. of dried usnea to 5 oz. of water, 2.5 oz. of pure organic cane/grain alcohol)
- Procedure: Take a stainless steel pot and add the dried and chopped usnea; add the water and boil; reduce heat and cover/simmer for 15-20 minutes; remove from heat and cool; pour the liquid into an air-tight container; add the alcohol and mix well; cover and shake daily for 2 weeks; strain and then add to a dark-colored bottle.
- Consume the mixture of 1 tsp six times daily.
Use For Vaginal Infections
- Materials: usnea tincture (above) and water.
- Procedure: Mix equal parts water with the tincture.
- Use to douche the vagina for infections.
Consult A Herbal Specialist And Your Regular Doctor
If you need assistance or have questions about how to make the proper form, how to apply it, where to find it, etc., reach out to an herbal specialist.
As with taking any medicines, you should consult with your physician for medical advice and to ensure that the dosage is right for you.
For example, someone with kidney disease should not be using this natural remedy as it may cause liver inflammation and liver damage. If you develop rashes, irritation, or inflammation, it’s best to discontinue its use.
Today just might be the time for you to explore nature’s lichen for a healthier life.
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