oak Fern
Gymnocarpium dryopteris L.


Oak Fern is a perennial plant, 15-40 cm tall, with a creeping, long, thin, but strong, strongly branched root. The leaves are light green, almost equilateral in shape. The leaf plate is divided into three segments. Segments divided into two or three tufts. Secondary segments lanceolate or ovate with dull, rounded, opposite lobes (5-9 pairs).

The leaves of the Oak Fern fall in winter. On the lower segments of the leaf plate there are round, brown bristles, separated from each other. Sores do not have a cover. Spores mature in the heat of summer (mid-June-July). Bald fern reproduces well also vegetatively - by dividing the root.

For medicinal purposes, the rhizomes and leaves of Oak Fern are used. Roots are dug in early spring or autumn, as soon as the leaves fall. The roots are cleaned of soil, dry leaf stalks and small roots, then the root is divided into several pieces. Do not wash the drug, dry it in special dryers or ovens not exceeding 40C, you can also dry it in a shady and well-ventilated place on sieves. The drug can be stored for up to one year.

The Oak Fern leaves are dried in the shade and in a well-ventilated, dry place. The drug is stored in paper bags for up to one year.

Carotenoids, steroids, waxes, filicin (<3.5%) and flavaspidic acid (<2.5%), albaspidin (<0.05%), aspidinol have been found in the roots and leaves of Oak Fern . The rhizome contains essential oil (~0.025-0.045%), vegetable fats, flavonoids, resins, starch, bitter substances, sucrose, tannins, up to 3% alkali.

Medicinal significance

Oak Fern has many medicinal properties: anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, antiseptic, pain-relieving, etc. However, already in 1950 IV Larins ranked this plant among poisonous plants.

According to the laboratory studies of European researchers, fluoroglycid produces specific toxicity in relation to the protoplasm of muscle tissue of parasitic helminths. Aspidinol, filixic acid and flavaspidic acid also have antihelminthic activity. These substances can paralyze the smooth muscles of worms. When added to filicinic acid, butyric acid results in the most toxic compound for helminths: filicin-butanone.

The leaves of Oak Fern contain tannins, which are responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties.

The leaves of Oak Fern have been used in folk medicine since ancient times. Leaf decoction or alcohol extract works as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent, is used externally for rheumatic pain, arthritis, arthrosis and gout. Oak Fern is also used as a wound healing agent for wounds, bruises and ulcers. Decoction of leaves or alcohol extract is used orally, in case of diseases of the spleen.

A water decoction of the rhizome of the Oak Fern is used as a means of expelling worms and other parasites. Bald fern decoction is used for bladder and urinary tract diseases, as well as for the treatment of nephritis.

Not recommended for use

Oak Fern , like most ferns, is a poisonous plant, so it is dangerous to use medicinal products based on it, especially orally. Filixic acid dissolves well in fats, can accumulate in the stomach, which can cause intoxication of the body.

In case of severe poisoning, convulsions, spinal cord paralysis are observed. Oak Fern remedies should not be used during pregnancy, during lactation, in case of kidney and liver diseases and stomach ulcers. It is strictly forbidden to give the means of this plant to children.