The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Bracken Fern

Scientific Names

Fern Bracken

  • Pteridium aquilinum L.
  • Fern family

Common Names

  • Fern bracken

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Parts Usually Used

Roots and young shoots
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Fern Bracken

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

The most common fern; 3-6 feet tall, forming large colonies. Leaves are triangular, divided into 3 parts; leaflets blunt-tipped; upper ones not cut to midrib.
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Where Found

Barren soils. Much of the United States; mostly absent from the Great Plains.
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Uses

Bracken fern is an excellent remedy for bites from gnats and similar insects. In tropical regions this fern is the next best thing to mosquito nets for protection. Stuff pillows and mattresses with this fern and you will not only be protected against all kinds of unwelcome insects, even bed bugs, but will also have a means of relief from rheumatism. Rubbing fern on an insect bite helps to avoid any unpleasant consequences.

Native Americans used the root tea for stomach cramps, diarrhea; smoke for headaches; poulticed root for burns, sores, and caked breasts; wash to promote hair growth; astringent, tonic. Historically, root tea was used for worms.
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Warning

Poisonous in excessive doses. Disturbs thiamine metabolism. Recently reported to cause cancer in grazing animals; contains at least 3 carcinogens. Use only with medical supervision.
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Bibliography

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

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