Usnea’s antibiotic properties are suitable in the treatment of respiratory and sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, strep throat, colds, flu, bleeding, as well as urinary tract, kidney, and bladder infections. It's commonly used as an immune tonic, and has antibiotic and antiviral properties, as well as wound healing benefits. The best way to identify Usnea is to pull a string apart and look for this white thread. Not just a pinch but as Usnea (Usnea australis)– While it's actually a lichen and not an herbaceous plant, I decided to include it on my list of antiviral herbs because it's one of my cure-all favorites. I often gather my usnea after wind storms. While medicinal herbs for seasonal flu (influenza) or the common cold are not a cure, they can be used to alleviate the associated symptoms. Usnea is a lichen; a combination of an algae and a fungus growing together. These ailments can last from a few days to about a week, but can progress into bronchitis, strep throat or asthma if not properly treated. While usnea isn't edible, it is a powerful herbal remedy best used in tincture form. Usnea is also used directly on the skin for sore throat and for athlete's foot . Usnea is used for weight loss, pain, fever, and wound healing, and to make phlegm easier to cough up. It has no side effects or contraindications, and is safe for children and animals. Usnea is an immune system tonic that can be used in acute situations as well as for long term immune enhancement and general prevention. Usnea is also beneficial for women with yeast infections, trichonomosas, bacterial vaginosis, and Chlamydia. Also known as Old Man's beard, it grows in little hair-like tufts, with the green algae covering the white string like fungus. Creating an Herbal Medicine Chest for the Cold and Flu Season (with an introduction to energetics) I know there are lots of articles about colds and flu out there. Either can cause discomfort preventing sleep, leaving one exhausted. Also, medicinal herbs can stimulate the immune system and may help bring about a more rapid recovery. Usnea, also known as Old Man's Beard, is an amazing medicinal lichen that you can forage for in the winter! The sooner one takes action against an infection, the easier it is to minimize its effects. Looking at the above list of uses for usnea you might guess that this is one powerful herb, and it is! I use this powerful herb in my Anti-Fungal Salve. Usnea is useful for many applications such as, infections, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, sore throat, fungal infections, vaginal infections, sinus infections, colds/flu, mastitis, and boils. It can be used along with or instead of Echinacea. Some studies have shown that many of the traditional uses of herbs for the flu are quite useful. Also known as Old Man's Beard, it can often be found on fallen branches of deciduous trees here in the Pacific Northwest. Flu comes on more suddenly with fever, sore muscles, fatigue and cough.