The hart’s tongue fern was already used by The great Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author Pedanius Dioscorides, who said that “it has the virtue of consuming the spleen.” Since then, it has been employed to treat splenomegaly (the increase of the spleen volume). It was given to alcoholic people in ancient times, who frequently suffer from blood congestion in their spleen. However, it was not very successful in this case.
Healing Properties and Indications
The fronds of this fern contain mucilage, tannin, sugars, and vitamin C. Due to their content in mucilage; the fronds have emollient (anti-inflammatory action on the mucous membrane and the skin) and expectorant properties. The tannins give them their astringent properties.
Hart’s tongue is used for bronchitis and colds, to make secretions more fluid and to ease their expulsion, as well as for colitis and gastritis, to protect the digestive mucous membrane and to reduce its inflammation.
Hart’s Tongue Scientific Facts
- French: Langue de cerf.
- Spanish: Lengua de ciervo.
- Environment: Walls, shady rocks, and calcareous soils of Europe and North America. Not very common.
- Description: Vivacious fern of the Polypodiaceae family, with undivided, bright green, elongated (from 20 to 60 cm), arrow-tipped fronds.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The fronds (the leaves of ferns).
How to use Hart’s Fern
- Decoction with 30 g of fronds per liter of water, boiling for ten minutes. Drink four or five cups daily, sweetened with honey.
- Washing with the same decoction employed in internal use.
- Compresses with this decoction.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 321. Print. [hart’s tongue]