I got that exam done yesterday and didn't get a 100% but I didn't do too bad. It was all quiet when I started it and half-way through, my daughter threw a tantrum and woke my son so I rushed through the rest of it. All I have left are the 2 essays and I will try some reading after those are done if the kids let me. I do still need to do my lab, which will probably be a tea. I also when through Hoffman and filled out the information on the herbs from last semester in my tincture notebook. I think there were 3 herbs not in there. I'll look through other sources when I can but I have plenty of entries for when I start talking about herbs again. I prefer to talk about them once the tincture is done and I only have a couple and don't know when I can buy the alcohol for the herbs with higher alcohol needs. Maybe I should read ahead and learn more about that since I understand that section is coming soon. Some of the herbs have 4 different percentages and it's hard to know which you should try. I prefer to try the weakest alcohol first (vodka) but that is not always best. The constituents dissolve at different rates with different solvents. That's why a tea is used for one thing but the same herb, the tincture can be used for something else. I know I've said that before but it's quite important to understand what form of the herb to use and when. I will check the next herb on the calendar on Tuesday which is licorice. I think it should be done then because it was almost done when I checked it before. On the home-front, the kids are happily playing. They have eaten their breakfast and been changed and have a nice cup of chocolate milk each. I usually make them share but my daughter wasn't having it this morning so my son got his own cup as well. I prefer to teach her to share but when you think about it, when they get older, they won't be sharing drinks so no big deal. Since I still have a lot to do (when do I not?), I will close here. I leave below a discussion on usnea. I have discussed this topic before but that is gone so this post is really for those who started reading after the deletion (if there are any). Have a great day!
Option 2: Fungi and Fungal Products
Which fungi and fungal products are significant to herbalism and natural health care? How are these used? What about pathogenic fungi? Consider yeasts, molds, ergot, and the medicinal mushrooms.
I have discussed usnea with our instructor during one of our lectures but I have a story on it that I’d like to share so I decided to do this topic. The story is, a friend has herpes because her baby-daddy cheated on her and she researched and asked me to make a tincture for her of usnea. I had never heard of this herb before and will do a bit more research for this assignment here is a sec. It took 6 weeks to make the tincture though I now know that is one that prefers heat distillation so the next batch will be made in the crock pot. My friend told me her research stated to apply in externally when there is a flare up. She said she wanted to spray it on so I bought 4 oz spray bottles for this purpose. When it was done, I got it to her. She had a flare up and sprayed it on… She sent me a message asking if it was supposed to burn… I’m sorry, y’all but I laughed. I make my tinctures with alcohol and that alcohol hit those sores and she knew it. I actually just finished making one that is vinegar-based but that won’t be much better when used externally on sores. I can’t remember which herb I was looking up or maybe it was a constituent but Hoffman says to treat skin conditions internally anyway. Hoffman is always the first book I go to followed by Ulbrecht. Hoffman doesn’t talk about the herb specifically in a monograph format but he does have it in there a few places as well as calling out usnic acid which is part of what makes usnea amazing. I just realized this is going to be a LONG post. Sorry for the book! LOL
A bit of background, this is from Ulbricht (2010), page 720, usnea is a fructose lichen which is a cross between fungus and algae. It grows on trees. I ordered mine in powder form so I don’t have a picture of my own but I’m sure one can be found online. This stuff has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. They use it for lung and upper respiratory infections, externally for infections and ulcers (so maybe the herpes flareups?). Today, the Chinese use it to treat tuberculosis. Also, Ulbricht goes on to say usnic acid has been used to treat HPV and oral hygiene. I always wonder if oral hygiene means teeth, deodorant or all the above. The call-out box suggests mouth wash in this instance. The safety section actually says deodorant sprays with this have caused contact eczema and other allergic reactions… I think I need to get my friend some licorice tincture. And next time I need to read all of the data and advise her that not everything she reads on the internet is a good thing… LOL Hoffman (2003) says usnic acid is in a few lichens and calls out usnea, ramalina, Evernia, paramelia, lecanora, and cladonia (93).
I did a quick search on usnea and there are a lot more articles than I expected. I found one that I don’t know how I feel about, so I decided that would be perfect to talk about. Siddiqi et al. (2018) did a study with nanoparticles (I often consider them unethical) while infusing them with extracts from usnea. The thing is, they are using silver nanoparticles. The end product was antibacterial for use in soaps, water purification and medicine. I read through this article and I can’t find anything I disapprove of. Usnea is a safe plant to use internally, anti-microbial, and silver has been used as a water purifier for centuries and used in colloidal silver as an anti-bacterial against many illnesses. I’m truly intrigued by this.
This may be cheating a bit but I wanted to answer some of the other questions in the prompt so I turned to the text book for next semester to get me started. I thought my other Pizzorno and Murray (2013) book was thick. This one could break my children’s toes if a certain someone climbs the shelves and pulls this one off in her quest to “read” mommy’s books… There is a chapter in here on Microbial Enzyme Therapy. Luckily the chapters in here are small because this is chapter 106, page 876 and I’m about halfway through the book sitting on this page… Talk about intimidating! For the question about fungal products being used in medicine, can we say long list? The most important things that jump off the page at me are lactose intolerance, maldigestion/malabsorption, inflammatory conditions and food allergies. That is not even half the list but to say these enzymes from fungi play an important role in natural medicine is an understatement!
Since lactose intolerance is quite prevalent, I decided to look there for a product. It didn’t take long. b-galactosidases come from many sources, to include fungi and yeast and are used in milk for lactose intolerant people as well as prebiotics according to Saqib et al. They list several fungi that are used as sources and state fungi are used because they are very stable.
Hoffman, David. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Pizzorno, J. E. and Murray, M. T. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MA: Elsevier.
Saqib, S. Akram, A., Halim, S. A., and Tassaduq, R. (2017). Sources of b-galactosidase and its applications in food industry. Biotech, 7:79.
Siddiqi, K. S., Rashid, M., Rahman, A., Tajuddin, Husen, A., and Rehman, S. (2018). Biogenic fabrication and characterization of silver nanoparticles using aqueous-ethanolic extract of lichen (Usnea longissima) and their antimicrobial activity.
Ulbricht, C. E. (2010). Natural Standard Herb & Supplement Guide: An Evidence-based Guide. Mosby, Inc. Elsevier, Inc.
I am currently a student at American College of Healthcare Sciences earning my Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine. This blog is my journey of juggling mom-life with student life. My husband is a truck driver so I'm essentially a single mom all but 3 days a month. It's a challenge but we will get through this. I complete this degree on 18 December 2019 and will take one additional semester and then be done for a while. My children need more attention from their mommy but I can't wait on getting this education done. I will do what I must for now.