The male fern, Polystichum filix-mas, belongs to the Aspidiaceae family and grows wild in the woods, especially of beech, oak and chestnut. It is characterized by large leaves with a big vein structure and has healthful properties, for which it was already known by ancient Greeks. In fact, Galen but also Dioscorides, Greek physicians, used it to counteract intestinal parasites. Nowadays its vermifuge effect is recognized if used internally, while, in case of external applications, the fern is calming and soothing and is able to treat rheumatism, sciatica, gout, backache and cramps. However, you should be very careful, in fact the fern, although easily available, has some side effects that you have to take into account, it can cause indeed abortion and, if taken incorrectly, it may also be toxic with vomiting, nausea and even convulsions. Therefore, before starting a treatment with fern, always ask your doctor for advice. But let's see the main uses.
Against gout and rheumatism fern can be used to prepare foot or hand baths. Bring to the boil a liter of water together with a bunch of fresh leaves and a dozen slices of root of fern, let simmer for a few minutes, then filter, leave to cool and use for hand and foot baths.
Infusion of roots
For the vermifuge effect, bring to boil a liter of water, remove from the heat and infuse for 10 minutes 10 slices of root. Filter and drink in the morning without food.
Infusion of leaves
Bring to boil a liter of water, then remove from the heat and add a bunch of leaves for ten minutes, filter and drink one cup a day for a soothing and vermifuge effect.