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Hairy Tree Moss.

Botanical name:

Usnea.

A very singular plant of the moss kind, frequent in our large forests, but rare elsewhere: it grows to the branches of old oaks and bushes, and hangs down from them in long strings. The tufts of it are often a foot long, and in the whole two or three inches thick; they are composed of a great quantity of stalks and branches, the largest not bigger than a large packthread; these are of a grey colour, and are composed of a soft bark, and a firm white fibre within: this bark is often cracked, and the fibres appear jointed; the small fibres of the plant resemble hairs: on the larger grow, at certain seasons, little hollow brown bodies. These contain the seeds, but they are too minute to be distinguished singly. The whole plant is dry, and sapless as it grows, and has not the least appearance of leaves up on it.

The powder of this moss is an excellent astringent; it is to be dried in an oven, and beat in a mortar: the white fibres will remain, when the soft part has gone through the sieve; they are of no use, the other has all the virtue. It is good against the whites, against overflowing of the menses, and bloody fluxes, and against spitting of blood: it deserves to be much more regarded than it is in the present practice. The dose is half a dram.


The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.



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