True maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris)

True maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris)

Other common names: Venus hair, Southern maidenhair, five- finger fern, black maidenhair fern, rock fern.

*Not to be confused with the maidenhair tree, or common maidenhair (Asplenium trichomanes)

The following information may not be re-posted, copied or published without my permission and appropriate credit given. Please contact me via email (listed on the About page) if you wish to re-publish any of the information on my blog.

Family: Pteridaceae

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Actions:

Anti-inflammatory, demulcent, astringent, antitussive, soothing expectorant, decongestant, emmenagogue, antispasmodic, antipruritic, anticatarrhal.

Harvest: 

*Note: This fern is scarce in some areas (such as North Carolina, and Kentucky); check to make sure it is not on the endangered list in your area before harvesting.

Part used: Whole herb, dried

Constituents: 

Tannins, mucilages, triterpenoids, flavonoids and others.

Indications:

Bronchitis, coughs, asthma, kidney complaints, chest congestion, insect bites, menstrual cramps, promoting menstrual flow.

Medicinal preparations:

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Internal

An infusion is the most common internal use of this fern, but it also makes a great addition to cough syrups.

External

A topical poultice or salve made with this fern has been used historically by First Nations people to alleviate discomfort from insect bites and stings.

Contraindications:

Do not use if pregnant or nursing. In large amounts it may cause vomiting. Do not administer to children or those taking medications without the advice of a physician.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Ettore Balocchi

Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Ettore Balocchi

A favourite among First Nations tribes, this fern has been made into a topical salve for skin irritations, and an internal remedy for rheumatism and psychosis (not that the two are related!) For centuries it has been considered a superior remedy for chest congestion. Its Latin and common names come from an old story about Venus emerging from the water with dry hair, (Adiantum means water-repellent).

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

 

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