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!


Scientific Names


  • Osmunda regalis L.
  • Fern family

Common Names

  • Buckhorn Brake
  • Bog onion
  • Buckhorn male fern
  • Fern brake
  • Flowering brake
  • Flowering fern
  • Hartshorn bush
  • Herb Christopher
  • King’s fern
  • Royal fern
  • Royal flowering fern
  • St. Christopher’s herb
  • Water fern

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    Parts Usually Used

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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Buckhorn brake is a perennial plant; the large, scaly rootstock is covered with matted fibers and often rises like a trunk up to a foot out of the ground. The pale green, bipinnate fronds have brown stalks and are ovate in outline; the oblong-elliptic pinnules are finely toothed. Sterile fronds are leafy only: fertile ones are topped by a tripinnate panicle of fertile pinnae which turn brownish in maturity and bear green spores. The fruiting axis bears black hairs. Fruiting time is from April to June.

    Another variety: Cinnamon-colored fern or Cinnamon fern (O. cinnamomea) is a native North American fern which grows from Newfoundland to Minnesota and Florida, and west to New Mexico, from Mexico into South America, and also in Asia. Its pinnate sterile fronds, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate in outline, grow on the outside, reaching 2-5 feet in height. The bipinnate fertile fronds, 1-3 feet high, grow in the center, their pinnae contracted and bearing cinnamon-brown spore cases. This fern can be used like buckhorn brake, although it is said to be less effective. It can be boiled in milk to produce mucilage which is helpful for diarrhea.
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    Where Found

    Grows in meadows and other moist areas, mostly in Europe, Great Britain, and Africa; a variety without hairs on the fruiting parts of the fronds grows in eastern North America.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Mucilaginous, tonic
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    The mucilaginous extract from the rhizomes have in the past been a part of the druggists’ supply, but is now of doubtful value.
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    A decoction useful for coughs, jaundice if taken early, a tonic for convalescents. The mucilage makes a good ointment for sprains, bruises, and wounds; mixed with brandy it was once popular as a rub for backache.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Collect rootstock in late spring or late summer, and dry carefully.

    Infusion or decoction: use 1 heaping tsp. cut-up rootstock with 1 cup water; for infusion, steep for 30 minutes. Take 1 tbsp. per hour, or as required. To get a more gelatinous consistency, use more of the rootstock.

    Tincture: a dose is from 20-40 drops.
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    Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

    Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

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

    Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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