Usnea, often referred to as Old Man’s Beard, is a common lichen that grows in trees and can be harvested almost year round by picking it off the ground after a wind storm, or off of downed trees dropped by wind or man.
After collecting, dry completely on a screen in a well-ventilated area (doesn’t take much time since it doesn't have much water content), then buzz or cut it into small pieces (I use my flour grinding attachment on my Vitamix blender). Next, fill jar with Usnea and cover with100 proof vodka. Let jar sit in warm area and shake daily. After two weeks, put Usnea and vodka into a powerful blender. Cutting and blending are not essential but if you have the equipment, it speeds up tincturing process by helping to break down Usnea’s tough cell walls. Put Usnea and vodka back in jar and return to warm place to be shook daily for two more weeks. After four to six weeks, you will have a powerful tincture that helps immune systems fight off infections of all kinds. I have used it to fight off MERSA, an antibiotic resistant staff infection. Native Americans once used this medicine to treat tuberculosis. For a more in depth article on Usnea tincture go to http://www.susunweed.com/An_Article_wisewoman3d.htm.