Multiple modern languages keep common names for the maidenhair fern. One such name is Venus’ Hair, which is based on the goddess Venus and her magnificent hair. So, for many years, maidenhair fern was one of the most used remedies to strengthen and make hair grow.
Healing Properties and Indications
The aerial part of the plant contains mucilage, tannins, sugars, and essential oils. Many properties have been conferred on this plant throughout history, though we will only mention those having been proven and checked.
- Bechic (calms coughs, and throat irritation): The maidenhair fern is especially recommended for dry coughs caused by irritation of the upper airways (pharynx, larynx, trachea). It can be administered to children, either on its own or accompanied by other bechic plants. Locally applied in gargles, it alleviates the dryness and irritation of the throat.
- Emollient and expectorant: It is recommended as a support treatment in chronic and acute bronchitis.
- Uterine antispasmodic: Eases painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) and regularizes menstruation (emmenagogue effect).
- Strengthens hair, preventing its loss, and in cases, it makes hair grow again.
Maidenhair Fern Scientific Facts
- Other names: Venus’ hair
- French: Capillaire
- Spanish: Culantrillo.
- Environment: Native to southern Europe, it also grows in warm regions of America. The plant prefers humid places such as the walls of wells, the fountains, and the grouts.
- Description: Vivacious plant of the Polypodiaceae family, growing from 10 to 40 cm high. Botanically it is a fern whose sporangia are located in a fold of the exterior border of the fronds (the leaflike part of the ferns). The stems and petioles are tiny, smooth, and bright. The flavor of the plant is mildly sweet.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The tiny stems, the peduncles (petioles), and the leaves.
How to use Maidenhair
- Infusion with 30 g of the aerial part of the plant per liter of water. Sweeten with honey and drink up to six cups a day.
- Syrup: Decoction with 100 g of the aerial part of the plant per liter of water, boiling until the liquid reduces to a third. Then strain, and add around 250 g of honey. Take it by spoonfuls. It is beneficial in easing persistent coughs in children.
- Poultices with 100 g of the mashed plant are directly applied on the scalp as a beret, then covered with a cotton cloth or a gauze. Keep the poultice for half an hour every day. Apply this treatment daily for one or two weeks for the hair to grow again.
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. 292,293. Print. [maidenhair fern]