Wild Harvesting Adventures With Fiona’s Forest

A Peek At Our Wild Harvesting Adventures

Image of Fiona's Forest Logo

Fiona’s Forest proudly wild harvests over 300 different species of plants and mushrooms. Check out some of some recents harvests here!

Mushroom Harvests Root Harvests Leaf & Flower Harvests Berry Harvest Lichen Harvests

What is Wild Harvesting?

As wild harvesting herbalists, we are constantly exploring new locations. Looking off the beaten path for plants and mushrooms that are surviving in their natural and native environment. Instead of cultivating a garden of medicinal plants, we are in the forest (usually between elevations of 3,000 ft. - 6,500 ft.) searching for naturalized colonies of the medicinal plants and mushrooms that make up the herbal apothecary of Fiona’s Forest.

Benefits of Wild Harvesting

  • The plants and mushrooms are growing in beautiful, untouched mineral and mycelium rich soils. These nutrients are then absorbed by the plant and made available to you through the highly absorbable form of tinctures and hydrosols.
  • The plants and mushrooms are naturally organic.
  • By sustainably wild harvesting, we ensure that the plants will return year after year leaving little to no impact on the environment.

Mushroom Harvests

Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion's Mane Products

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is excellent for repairing nerve damage and memory function. Anytime we come across this beautiful mushroom, it’s time to celebrate!

Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a type of mushroom that has been used traditionally in China and Japan for hundreds of years to enhance cognitive function and treat stomach ailments. It's also known as bear's head or monkey's head. This mushroom was once reserved only for the palates of the royal families. The fruiting body blooms for a short time in the fall, so we set out on an early morning hike up the dense canopy covered creek bed to check all the usual places that it grows. We checked under fallen trees where we have seen it in previous years, but after briskly hiking for more than an hour, there was no sign of it. Darcy reminded the group that the bears had been eating it. Once they entered hibernation, we would have a better chance of collecting the mushroom. As Darcy stopped to pick seeds from a Western Yew tree, I looked across the creek and saw a beautiful specimen of the Lion's Mane mushroom that the bears had missed.

Health Benefits:

  • Enhances Memory and Brain Function
  • Beneficial Effects on Digestion
  • Helps Regulate Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels
  • Stimulates the Creation of NGF (Nerve Growth Factor)
  • Promotes Myelin Sheath Growth on Brain Cells
  • Acts as a Natural Antidepressant
  • Enhances Immune System
  • Helps Treat Peptic Ulcers
  • Improves Cognitive Function
  • Optimizes Nervous System
Image of Jule’s & Prada with a freshly harvested Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double blinded, placebo controlled clinical trial. Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K. Azumi, Y and Tuchida T. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):367-372. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2634

Hericenone C, D and E, stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis from the mushroom Hericium erinaceum. Kawagishi, H., Ando, M., Sakamoto, H., Yoshida S., Ojima, F., Ishiguro, Y., Ukai, N., Fukukawa, S. 1991. Tetrahedron Lett 32, 4561-4564.

Polypore Mushrooms:

Polypore Mushrooms Products

Polypore mushrooms include any mushroom that does not have gills. Instead, these mushrooms have spores. We look for Polypore mushrooms year round and incorporate them into many different products because of their long list of health benefits.

Polypore mushrooms all contain the Beta 1, 3d Glucan molecule (polysaccharides) which has been scientifically studied for immune-boosting abilities and has been proven to have immune system enhancement properties, which may have dramatic impact on every organ, and disease fighting system found in the body. Polypore’s Beta 1, 3d glucan is a scientifically proven biological defense modifier with supreme non-specific immune system activation properties. These are natural molecules which have the amazing ability to pass through the digestive system to the small intestine undigested and are transported by macrophages, the body’s immune system warriors, throughout the body. Beta 1, 3d glucan is exactly the proper size and shape to fit a receptor on the macrophage like a key in a lock. When this lock is opened, the macrophage immediately goes into a “search and destroy” mode, seeks out the ‘not me’ or invading cells, bacteria and viruses and consumes them. There have been many studies from well known Universities (Harvard, Tulane, Louisville) demonstrating the immune-enhancing effects of Beta 1, 3d glucan. In addition to the immune system related effects, beta glucans have been noted to assist the body in lowering cholesterol levels, promoting rapid wound healing, protecting against radiation exposure, and inhibiting viral and microbiological infections. People who have impaired immunity from many causes including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic stress, or persistent viral infections can take beta glucan to heighten their defenses. Those who suffer from chronic degenerative disorders, i.e. diabetes mellitus or chronic inflammation may also benefit from beta glucan’s immune enhancement. Those habitually exposed to environmental pollutants, UV radiation, and other toxins could benefit from the antioxidant effects and potent free-radical scavenger effects.

No contraindications have been reported regarding combining beta glucan with chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or other medical regimens. However, as an immune system booster it can make some medications even more potent and therefore your medical professional should be notified that you are taking it.

Red Belted Polypores, as well as Inonotus obliquus (Chaga), Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), and Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail) mushrooms have been shown through extensive scientific studies and testing to provide the following

Health Benefits:

  • Used as a tonic to reduce inflammation of digestive tract
  • Tumor Inhibiting: according to extensive peer reviewed studies, Polypore mushrooms cause a systemic immune cascade that attacks and kills cancer cells; a powerful antioxidant that prevents free radical damage to cells; increased resistance to cancers and tumor reduction may also be due to the high percentage of Germanium compounds found in the fungus; Germanium is known through extensive scientific studies to be an antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-mutagenic and oxygen catalyst as well as an effective semi-conductor or electron transferring material which enhances the oxygen supply to the body’s cell’s providing increased energy production; Germanium makes it so that every breath you take makes the oxygen in our bodies 200 times more available to the cells; Tiaga also contains the following anti-tumor glucanoids known to inhibit tumors/cancer:
    • Beta D glucan
    • Glucurono beta D glucan
    • Arabininoxylo beta D glucan
    • Xylo beta D glucan
    • Manno beta D glucan
    • Xylomanno beta D glucan
  • Blood sugar regulation: normalization and regulation of insulin production due to the action of hypoglycemic glycans and proteoglycans
  • Pancreatic disease recovery and liver detoxifier: increases liver function by aiding in the removal of toxins from the liver and intestines due to the action of bitter terpenoids
  • Anti-hypertensive; lowers blood pressure due to the action of ganoderic and fomeric acids that are reported to inhibit hypertensive related antiotenin-1 converting enzymes
  • Immune system modulation
  • Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-mutagenic, anti-fungal, anti-microbial: it has been noted through many clinical observations that within a day of ingesting Red Belted Polypores, the body begins to produce massive numbers of neutrophils and other white blood cells (up to 4000%) which seek out infection in the body; this increases the survival rate for those with any type of infections, including cancers, viruses, bacterial and fungal infections; stimulates the production of interferon levels up to 2000% within 20 hours of ingestion
  • Tissue restorative and regenerator.
  • Anti-inflammatory: contains natural steroids found in therapeutic quantities which are useful in the treatment of arthritis and painful autoimmune and inflammatory diseases
  • Polypores were used by the Cree Indians as a styptic to stop bleeding
  • Prevents hardening of the arteries
  • Protects the heart muscle
  • Anti-depressant; gives a sense of well being
  • Anti-Parkinson; Anti-Alzheimer and other forms of dementia
  • Prevents gum disease and tooth decay
  • Lowers fevers
  • Prevents glaucoma and cataracts (free radical damage)
  • Pansystemic: a synergistic effect on the whole body; helps in total body health
  • Energy booster and anti-fatigue agent
  • Anti-aging benefits
  • Weight loss supplement that helps prevent obesity
  • Anti-lipidemic; lowers blood fat levels
  • Lowers blood cholesterol levels

Fiona’s Forest brews a strong tea from Red Belted, Chaga, Turkey Tail mushrooms and Reishi Mushrooms, which is then distilled into a concentrated hydrosol. A small dose of this highly bioavailable hydrosol is all that is necessary for daily immune system support. It is very important to consume a minimum of 2000 mg of Vitamin C while taking this hydrosol, as these mushrooms are known to utilize significant quantities of vitamin C during ingestion. You can supplement your vitamin C with Fiona’s Forest’s Calcium/Magnesium/Vitamin Tincture and Horsetail/Nettle Capsules.

Image of Pieces of a Chaga Mushroom to show coloring
Image of Turkey Tail Mushrooms growing on a tree Image of Large Reishi Mushrooms growing on a tree

Chiu et al., 2009. Mycelia from submerged fermentation of Ganoderma tsugae and Ganoderma lucidum inhibit breast cancer cells via apoptosis and mitogenic effect, the latter via estrogen receptor modulation

Enviromedica.com, "Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms" February 2017.

Jeng-Leun Mau et al., 2002 " Total phenols were the major naturally occurring antioxidant components found in methanolic extracts from medicinal mushrooms. Overall, Ganoderma tsugae & Ganoderma lucidum were higher in antioxidant activity, reducing power, scavenging and chelating abilities, and total phenol content."

Lee S, Hwang H, Yun J. "Antitumor activity of water extract of a mushroom, Inonotus obliquus, against HT-29 human colon cancer cells". Phytother Res. April 15, 2009.

Life Extension Magazine "Reishi Mushrooms Prevent Obesity in Mice" July 2016.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Chaga Mushroom Fact Sheet

Park, Y. K., Lee H.B., Jeona, E.J., Jungb, H.S. Kang, M.H. 2004. "Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes as assessed by comet assay." BioFactors 21:109-112.

Stamets, P., 2008, U.S. Patent Application #12/284,646. "Antiviral and Antibacterial Activity from Medicinal Mushrooms." Filed September 24, 2008.

Won D.P., Lee, J.S., Kwon, D.S., Lee K.E., Shin, W. C., Hong, E.K. 2011. "Immunostimulating activity of polysaccharides isolated from fruiting bodies of Inonotus obliquus." Mol Cells 31(2):165-73. E-pub 22 Dec. 2010.

Youn, M.J., Kim, J.K., Park, S.Y., et al. 2009, "Potential anticancer properties of the eater extract of Inonotus obliquus by induction of apoptosis in melanoma B16-F10 cells." J Ethnopharmacol Jan. 21 2009; 121(2):221-8.

Root Harvests

Brown’s Peony (Paeonia brownii)

Brown’s Peony Products

Brown’s Peony Root takes a bit of work to harvest, but the benefits are well worth the effort! Whether used topically or internally, this natural anti-inflammatory is one of our most popular tools for pain.

Brown’s Peony (Paeonia brownii) usually grows at an elevation of 5,000 ft or higher and is found in colonies on well drained rocky slopes. We use just the root medicinally, so fall harvesting is the best but can be a challenge sometimes since grazing animals can eat all evidence of the aerial plant. Unless you have spotted it in the summer and remember exactly where to go back to after the flowers have seeded like Darcy did for us this year.

A tincture of the root can be used topically for localized inflammation. The tincture can also be used internally as a smooth muscle relaxer/anti-inflammatory.

Health Benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory – Used topically, Brown's Peony tincture can clear blood congestion following traumatic injury.
  • Antispasmodic – A tincture of the root helps to relieve smooth muscle cramping.
  • Gynecological aid – Brown's Peony is used for many female complaints. It reduces muscle tension, yet at the same time stimulates uterine muscles.
  • Immune Stimulant – One half teaspoon of tincture taken at the onset of a cold or flu, helps rebuild the immune system.
  • Cautions- Avoid during pregnancy and in cases of diarrhea. Some people are sensitive to Brown's Peony, developing nausea and stomach cramps. Do not use the flowers and leaves.
Image of Jules and Will Digging a Brown’s Peony Root Image of a Brown’s Peony Root after it’s been dug
Image of the leaf and budding flower of the Brown’s Peony Plant Image of Katy with a freshly harvested Brown’s Peony Root

Li, Pei, et al. "Genus Paeonia: A comprehensive review on traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacological activities, clinical application, and toxicology." Journal of Ethnopharmacology 269 (2021): 113708.

Teasel Root (Dipsacus fullonum)

Teasel Root Products

Here we have harvested the first year root of the Teasel plant. Teasel grows at many elevations. This shot was taken on a saddle ridge at an elevation of 5,000 feet overlooking the Salmon River on one side and the Snake River on the other.

Teasel Root (Dipsacus fullonum) is excellent for chronic inflammation of the muscles, with limitation of movement and great pain. Chronic inflammation and pain, with destruction of muscles and joints, is one of the major symptoms caused by spirochetes including Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme) spirochetes. After entering the body through a tick bite, the spirochetes burrow into the muscles where they settle down to live. Teasel root is thought to drive the spirochetes out the soft tissue into the bloodstream where the immune system can kill the bacteria.

When processing Teasel root, the fresh root is cut to expose all layers of the root unlocking its full potency. It is then covered with food grade alcohol. The alcohol dehydrates the root over a six week period leaving all the constituents in the tincture. The liquid is then strained through a filter and bottled.

Health Benefits:

  • Used In Lyme Disease Protocol
  • Drive Spirochetes Out Of The Joint And Muscle Tissue
  • Anti-Inflammatory For Chronic Muscle And Joint Pain
  • Treats Skin Conditions Such As Warts, Fistulae And Cancerous Sores
  • Helpful In Treating Boils And Abscesses
Image of first year Tealsel after it’s been harvested  Image of Katy with a first year Tealsel after it’s been harvested  Image of first year Tealsel still in the ground

Oszmiański, Jan, et al. "Roots and leaf extracts of Dipsacus fullonum L. and their biological activities." Plants 9.1 (2020): 78.

Saar-Reismaa, Piret, et al. "Extraction and fractionation of bioactives from Dipsacus fullonum L. leaves and evaluation of their anti-Borrelia activity." Pharmaceuticals 15.1 (2022): 87.

Tatoj, Agnieszka, et al. "Plants supporting the treatment of Lyme disease." Annales Universitatis Paedagogicae Cracoviensis Studia Naturae (2023).

Yarnell, Eric. "Herbal medicine for Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections." Alternative and Complementary Therapies 22.6 (2016): 257-265.

Lomatium Root (Lomatium dissectum)

Lomatium Root Products

Lomatium Dissectum is known to grow on steep rocky hillsides. Many herbalists joke that you have to be a billy goat in order to harvest this beautiful root. Climbing up the mountain to dig this root is one thing, but once the root is out of the ground, the real trick is not losing it on the way back down the mountain!

This Lomatium root was wild harvested in the Salmon River Range of the Rocky Mountains when the plants are dormant and the constituents are strongest in the root (in the fall). Lomatium dissectum is the most robust of the desert parsley. This fern-leafed variety is highly variable and has a wide range. It grows as much as four feet tall, making it the tallest of the Lomatium. It most frequently grows in rocky habitats, particularly on talus slopes.

When we dig this root, we are usually armed with a good pickaxe and root shovel. Each root can easily take 30 minutes to dig due to the dense rocky soils you need to maneuver. This root is very fragrant and resinous. In order to capture the essential oils and resins, we process the root (tincture it) as soon as we return to the shop.

Health Benefits:

  • Strong antiviral!
  • Immune Stimulant
  • Skin softener when used topically
Image of an apprentice digging Lomatium root on a steep hillside Image of an apprentice digging Lomatium root on a steep hillside Image of the steep hillside where Lomatium grows
Image of Lomatium on a cutting board Image of Lomatium sliced up

Williamson D., 'Medicinal Plants of the Northwest,130 Monographs', 2011, pages 150-152.

Buhner, S., Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections, 2013

A.R. McCutcheon, T.E. Roberts, E. Gibbons, S.M. Ellis, L.A. Babiuk, R.E.W. Hancock, G.H.N. Towers, Antiviral screening of British Columbian medicinal plants, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 49, Issue 2, 1995, Pages 101-110

Avens Root (Geum macrophyllum)

Avens Root Products

Avens generally grows along creeks of rivers. Most times, we don’t need a shovel to harvest it, we just follow the tap root down from the center of the leaves with our fingers and gently pull it out of the soil. Be careful of its pokey bristles!

Avens is one of North America's best dysentery remedies. The root has proven to be extremely helpful for those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's Disease and Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Health Benefits:

  • Relieves symptoms of dysentery — Nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea, fever, vomiting
  • Fevers reducer
  • Gynecological Aid — For uterine hemorrhage, excessive menstruation or spotting
  • Liver Aid — Aven's eugenol increases the activity of the digestive enzyme trypsin, while the bitter component helps regulate liver and gallbladder function.
  • Stomach Aid — Avens combines bitter-tonic properties with the astringent effects of its tannins and the antiseptic action of its volatile oil eugenol which is also found in cloves and allspice.
  • Throat Aid — Aven's astringency makes it very useful as a mouthwash or gargle in the treatment of gingivitis, halitosis and sore throats.
Image of Jules with Avens Root Image of Avens Root to show size Image of Katy harvesting Avens Root next to a creek

Scbultze, Vollmann. Composition of the root essential oils of several Geum species and related members of the subtribus geinae (rosaceae). 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

S. Shahani , H. R. Monsef-Esfahani [email protected] , R. Hajiaghaee & A. R. Gohari (2011) Chemical Composition of Essential Oil and Hydrolat of Geum iranicum Khatamaz, Journal of Essential Oil Research, 23:6, 29-33, DOI: 10.1080/10412905.2011.9712278

Leaf & Flower Harvests

Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris)

Tribulus Products

This pesky plant may be more useful than you think! Tribulus may look like the “cousin It” of plants and the seeds can definitely cause some pain, but it’s a great way to supplement your testosterone.

Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris), commonly known as Puncture Vine, is harvested in the fall when it is seeding. The "goat head" seeds, that are so tough they can flatten the tire on your bicycle, are the part of the plant that is used medicinally to elevate testosterone levels and increase libido in both men and women.

This beautiful seeding Tribulus plant was found by Prada while walking along the beach of the Salmon River. She quickly found out that having a seed with sharp prongs all around it in your paw stops you in your tracks.

The seeds are tinctured in food grade alcohol for at least 6 weeks and then strained and bottled.

Health Benefits:

  • Testosterone Booster
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Improves Sexual Performance
  • Increases Libido In Both Men And Women
  • Increases Muscle Mass And Builds Strength
Image of the Tribulus plant being held up from its center Image of the Tribulus plant showing the seed or “goats head

Saeed, Muhammad, et al. "Promising phytopharmacology, nutritional potential, health benefits, and traditional usage of Tribulus terrestris L. herb." Heliyon (2024).

Azam, Farooq, et al. "A review on advancements in ethnomedicine and phytochemistry of Tribulus terrestris–a plant with multiple health benefits." Int J Biosci 14.1 (2019): 21-37.

Fernández-Lázaro, Diego, et al. "Effects of Tribulus terrestris L. on Sport and Health Biomarkers in Physically Active Adult Males: A Systematic Review." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19.15 (2022): 9533.

Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Skullcap Products

Skullcap is another plant that loves steep rocky hillsides! The flowers tend to be sporadic in the wild but, when you find them amongst the rocks feels like you’ve come across gold!

Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) is a delicate, erect perennial with smooth, square stems. The leaves are opposite, thin and egg-shaped, with toothed margins. The flowers are blue, two-lipped, and in elongate groups on stalks in the upper half of the plant. We are sure to only harvest from areas with a large healthy colony.

Health Benefits:

  • Analgesic — Skullcap helps almost any pain, myalgia, or neuralgia from spinal or peripheral nerve irritability without organic causes. Acupuncturists and massage therapists often use Skullcap Massage Oil topically to lessen surface irritability.
  • Dermatological aid — Shingles, early nerve pain from herpes (before eruptions). Skullcap Massage Oil is also beneficial in controlling itching and pain when applied externally.
  • Sedative — Skullcap calms the emotions, quiets overexcitability, and improves motor ability and impairment of the senses.
  • Seizures — Where overt drug treatment is unwarranted, Skullcap can successfully control minor seizures. If 40 drops of fresh plant tincture is taken during the aura phase of epilepsy, Skullcap can often prevent a seizure. The same dosage taken in a small amount of water before bedtime may prevent petit mal while sleeping in epileptic individuals.
  • Stress — One of the Skullcap's flavonoids is transformed by hydrolysis into scutellarein, which helps stimulate the brain to produce more endorphins. It can therefore enhance awareness and calmness. Panic attacks, restlessness, stress induced headaches and emotional trauma can all be treated with Skullcap.
  • Veterinarian aid — It is used in the treatment of panic, fits, chorea, meningitis, nervous spasms, gastro-enteritis, lack of appetite and sterility. Tincture the fresh flowering tops.
Image of a skullcap patch Image of Jules harvesting Skullcap on a steep hillside Image of Prada on a hillside of Skullcap
Image of a Skullcap close up Image of a Skullcap close up

Brock, Christine, et al. "The use of Scutellaria lateriflora: a pilot survey amongst herbal medicine practitioners." Journal of Herbal Medicine 2.2 (2012): 34-41.

Kwiecień, Inga, et al. "Antioxidant potential and enhancement of bioactive metabolite production in in vitro cultures of Scutellaria lateriflora L. by biotechnological methods." Molecules 27.3 (2022): 1140.

Brock, Christine, et al. "American skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora): A randomised, double‐blind placebo‐controlled crossover study of its effects on mood in healthy volunteers." Phytotherapy research 28.5 (2014): 692-698.

Elephant Head Betony (Pedicularis groenlandica)

Elephant Head Betony Products

Elephant Head Betony is one of our favorite flowers to harvest. In part because of its whimsical form and because of the sense of peaceful serenity it gives off. It’s no wonder, this flower is one of our most popular remedies for insomnia!

This beautiful plant grows at high elevations in moist meadows and along creeks. The flowers are uniquely shaped with long pointed beaks that curve up just like the trunk on an Elephant. The lateral pedals are shaped like elephant ears. The places we find this plant are some of the most peaceful and serene parts of the forest known to us. This flower can be tinctured fresh or dried for tea. Native American tribes are known to have smoked the flowers for their medicinal and narcotic effects.

Health Benefits:

  • Analgesic: Excellent for muscle pain and tension particularly back pain.
  • Sleep aid: Whether from insomnia or exhaustion, a tincture or tea of this flower will help your body to relax and get a restful night's sleep.
  • Sedative: beneficial for its psychological effects especially anger, fear, pain, and anxiety. extremely effective as a sleep aid
  • Stomach Aid: Eases upset stomach and nausea
Image of Elephant Head Betony being pollinated by a honey bee Image of Sam and Jules in an Elephant Head Betony meadow

Hameed, Ayesha, et al. "Chemo‐taxonomic and biological potential of highly therapeutic plant Pedicularis groenlandica Retz. using multiple microscopic techniques." Microscopy Research and Technique 84.12 (2021): 2890-2905.

Li, Mao-Xing, et al. "Phytochemistry and pharmacology of the genus Pedicularis used in traditional Chinese medicine." The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 42.05 (2014): 1071-1098.

Berry Harvest

Hawthorn Berry (Crataegus sp.)

Hawthorn Berry Products

A couple Apprentices and I made a trip to Idaho to pick Hawthorn Berries in early September. This year was a bumper crop for the wild Hawthorn Berries in Idaho. We picked gallons of berries that are tinctured for heart health, specifically reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The actions of Hawthorn extract on the cardiovascular system make the heart a more efficient pump. It partly achieves this by tenderizing the heart and increasing blood supply to the heart muscle. It also increases the output of blood from the heart and decreases the resistance of blood vessels in the body to the normal flow of blood. The result is a stronger and healthier heart and a better flow of blood throughout the body.

There are approximately 800 kinds of these small trees or shrubs in North America. Because of individual variations and frequent crossbreeding they are very difficult to separate into species. A distinctive feature of this plant is the long, straight or slightly curved, sharp thorns that arm the twigs. The leaves are alternate and conspicuously toothed. But they vary in overall shape and are difficult to categorize. Some are slightly or deeply lobed, while others are without any sign of lobes. This member of the Rosaceae family has small white or pink flowers that develop into berries. The small, apple-like fruit usually are red, orange or black in color. Hawthorns prefer alkaline soils, and are most abundant in limestone areas. They often grow in sunny abandoned fields and pastures.

Health Benefits:

  • Heart Attacks and the Recovery Process – Heart failure patients often have a history of one or more heart attacks. Studies indicate that Hawthorn extract protects the heart muscle during times of oxygen loss. This protection comes primarily in the form of antioxidant activity, which prevents free-radical damage to the heart. However, Hawthorn's other effects mentioned above also make it useful in recovery of strength in the heart muscle following a heart attack.
  • Heart Tonic – Hawthorn, particularly extracts made from the leaves, berries and flowers, exerts a gentle, measured effect on the heart and circulation, making it useful as an initial therapy for persons with weakened heart function. It is especially useful for early-stage congestive heart failure, particularly before stronger drugs such as digitalis are required. Take one teaspoon of Hawthorn Tincture in the morning and one before bedtime.
  • Hypertension – Hawthorn can help maintain the heart in a healthy condition, preventing the development of coronary disease. In general, using Hawthorn gives the heart a fighting chance at recovery from heart disease, and it may also slow progression of the illness. The actions of Hawthorn extract on the cardiovascular system make the heart a more efficient pump. It partly achieves this by increasing blood supply to the heart muscle. It also increases the output of blood from the heart and decreases the resistance of blood vessels in the body to the normal flow of blood. The result is a stronger and healthier heart and a better flow of blood throughout the body. In the past decade, however, standardized extracts from Europe have predominantly been prepared from the leaves and flowers. These portions of the plant are higher in the desired medically active constituents. Hawthorn can be safely used for an extended period of time without side effects, as opposed to digitalis and other cardiac glycoside drugs that can become toxic. There are some known interactions with prescription cardiac drugs, so check with your health care provider if you are taking such medication.
Image of Hawthorn Berries prior to harvesting them

Nazhand, Amirhossein, et al. "Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.): An updated overview on its beneficial properties." Forests 11.5 (2020): 564.

Holubarsch, Christian JF, Wilson S. Colucci, and Jaan Eha. "Benefit-risk assessment of Crataegus extract WS 1442: An evidence-based review." American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs 18 (2018): 25-36.

Wang, Jie, Xingjiang Xiong, and Bo Feng. "Effect of crataegus usage in cardiovascular disease prevention: an evidence-based approach." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).

Martinelli, Federico, et al. "Botanical, phytochemical, anti-microbial and pharmaceutical characteristics of hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.), Rosaceae." Molecules 26.23 (2021): 7266.

Lichen Harvests

Usnea (Usnea sp.)

Usnea Products

There are many different types of lichens in the forest. However, this particular lichen holds a special place in our apothecary! Jules has always said that if she could only have 1 herb, it would be Usnea. This Usnea was wild harvested in the Lassen National Forest of California at 5,000 feet elevation.

Usnea is very slow growing and therefore, should not be harvested off of living trees. It is best to take what is offered after a windstorm has blown down tree branches or what has naturally fallen to the ground. Europe has already depleted their resources for Usnea due to over harvesting.

There are no known side effects of usnea, and it has not been reported to interfere with the action of common medications. It is considered safe for use in children.

Theoretically, caution is advised in people with autoimmune disease (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, lupus), as Usnea may increase the action of the immune system.

Health Benefits:

  • Antibiotic: Usnea is a natural antibiotic that has been extensively researched as an antibiotic that inhibits 16 known gram-positive bacteria (both the resistant and non-resistant strains) such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, and mycobacteria. Unlike other antibiotics, Usnea does not affect gram-negative bacteria, the essential bacteria in your intestines and vagina for a healthy immune system.
  • Parasites: Usnea tincture is one of three tinctures used in our parasite cleansing program along with Green Black Walnut and Wormwood Tinctures.
  • Anti-fungal: Usnea is excellent for treating fungal infections of the mouth, stomach, intestines, anus, vagina, nose, ear and skin, as well as systemic fungal infections.
  • Anti-microbial: Usnea helps the body to resist and kill unwanted organisms such as bacteria, virus, fungus and parasites.
Image of an usnea magical forest Image of a tree with Usea all over it

Sepahvand, Asghar, et al. "Usnea sp.: Antimicrobial potential, bioactive compounds, ethnopharmacological uses and other pharmacological properties; a review article." Journal of Ethnopharmacology 268 (2021): 113656.

Sabarwati, Siti Hadijah, et al. "Antibacterial activity of usnic acid from Usnea longissima Ach." Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 33.4 (2020).

Behera, B. C., et al. "Antioxidant and antibacterial activities of lichen Usnea ghattensis in vitro." Biotechnology letters 27 (2005): 991-995.

Al-Ahmadi, Ahlam A., et al. "Assessment of Usnic Acid (Lichen Usnea Articulata Extract) Safety on Lipid Profile, Adipocytes Morphology and Liver Functions in Adult Male Rats." Journal of King Abdulaziz University: Medical Sciences 20.2 (2013): 45-66.