The rustyback fern was already mentioned by the great Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author, Pedanius Dioscorides, in the 1st century A.D., though with the name of scolopendra, due to its resemblance to centipedes, small reptiles which also lived in old walls and rocks. Galen called it splenio since he thought the plant could reduce the volume of the spleen. Rustyback has been used since ancient times, and though it is not an outstanding plant regarding its properties, it is still utilized.
Healing Properties and Indications
Rustyback contains tannin and organic acids. It has been successfully used to treat coughs induced by acute bronchitis and bronchial catarrh since it has bechic, antitussive, and pectoral properties. This plant is not as active as the maidenhair fern.
It also has diuretic and sudorific properties and provides some anti-inflammatory action on the urinary tract, thus being beneficial for cystitis and kidney stones.
Rustyback Fern Scientific Facts
- French: Doradille.
- Spanish: Doradilla.
- Environment: It grows in walls and rocks of western Europe and is naturalized in America.
- Description: Vivacious fern of the Polypodiaceae family, growing in bunches from 20 to 25 cm high. Its leaflike parts are lobulated and covered on the underside by golden scales. Its root is black.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The leaflike parts or fronds.
How to use Rustyback
- Decoction with 30 g of plant per liter of water, boiling for 15 minutes. Drink up to five cups a day. For bronchial and lung disorders, it must be drunk hot, sweetened with honey.
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. 299. Print. [rustyback fern]