Maidenhair Fern plant - Adiantum Capillus-veneris (Polypodiaceae)

Medicinal Use of Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum Capillus-veneris (Polypodiaceae)


Fern with delicate fronds growing to 1 ft (30 cm) long.

Habitat & Cultivation

Native to Europe, Asia, most of the Americas, and Australasia.

Parts Used

Aerial parts.


Maidenhair fern contains flavonoids (including rutin and isoquercitin), terpenoids (including adiantone), tannin, proanthocyanidins, and mucilage.

History & Folklore

Maidenhair fern has been used since ancient times. Pliny the Elder (23–79 CE) states that the herb β€œis of singular efficacy in expelling and breaking calculi of the bladder.”

Medicinal Actions & Uses

Commonly used in Latin America and occasionally in Europe, a decoction or tincture of maidenhair fern is used as an expectorant to treat coughs, bronchitis, sore throat, and chronic nasal congestion. The plant has a longstanding reputation as a remedy for conditions affecting the hair and scalp.

Related Species

A. caudatum has been shown to act as an antispasmodic and could be useful in the treatment of asthma.