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Family Polypodiaceae
Northern maidenhair fern
Adiantum pedatum Linn.
COMMON MAIDENHAIR

T'ieh-sien-ts'ao

Scientific names Common names
Adiantum pedatum Linn. American maidenhair fern (Engl.)
Adiantum pedatum var. pedatum Common maidenhair (Engl.)
Adiantum pedatum f. pedatum Five-fingered maidenhair fern (Engl.)
Infraspecific taxa Northern maidenhair fern (Engl.)
Adiantum pedatum var. grandiflolium (Ching) Ching  
Adiantum pedatum L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: T’ieh-sien-ts’ao.

Etymology
Genus name adiantum comes from the Greek word adiantos, meaning unwetted in reference to the water repellent foliage. Pedatum means 'cut like a bird's foot" in reference to the fronds. (5)

Botany
Adiantum pedatum is a deciduous, clump-forming terrestrial fern growing up to 60 centimeters tall. Stems are wiry, reddish-brown to black. Frond stalks are somewhat frilly, purplish, forked like a fan, with circular or horseshoe shaped rachis. Leaflets are papery and light green.

Distribution
- Recently introduced to the Philippines.
- Native to North America.

Constituents
- Phytochemical screening has yielded terpenoids, cardiac glycosides and steroids.

Properties
- Considered to be anti-rheumatic, astringent, demulcent, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, haemostatic, pectoral and tonic.
- Study has suggested antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

Parts used
Fronds, stems.

Uses

Folkloric
- No reported folkloric use in the Philippines.
- Tea or syrup used for nasal congestion, asthma and sore throats.
- Decoction of leaves used to relieve coughing.
- Root decoction used externally to massage into rheumatic joints.
- North Americans chewed the fronds, then applied them to wounds to stop bleeding.
- Root infusion or decoction rubbed on hands and then to affected area and drunk by Cherokee to treat rheumatism. (6)
- Whole plant infusion used as emetic in agues and fevers.
- Used for bronchitis, whooping cough and excessive menses.
- Plant used as hair conditioner and hair tonic.
- Alcohol leaf extract used topically for thicker hair growth
- Stems used as hair wash to provide shine in the hair.
- In Malaysia, whole plant used for chronic catarrh and other pectoral affections.
Others
- Basketry: Stipe used as ornament in basketry.
- Landscaping: Makes a good ground cover.


Studies
Antioxidant / Antibacterial:
Study of acetone and ethyl acetate extracts showed inhibitory activity against S aureus, K pneumonia, P aeruginosa and E coli. Results showed Adiantum pedatum to be a potential source of natural antioxidants. (2)

Availability
Wild-crafted.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update April 2016
May 2011


IMAGE SOURCE: Northern Maidenhair Fern / File:Adiantum pedatum 09905.JPG / Walter Siegmund / (2007:05:15T07:17:16-7.00) / GNU Free Documentation License / Wikimedia Commons
IMAGE SOURCE: Adiantum pedatum / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 1: 31. / alterVISTA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Adiantum pedatum / Plants For A Future
(2)
ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITIES OF ADIANTUM PEDATUM L.
/ C.P. Chandrappa, C.B. Shilpashree, Karthik M.R, M. Govindappa and T.S. Sadananda / Journal of Phytology 2011, 3(1): 26-32
(3)
A Review on the Potential Uses of Ferns / M. Mannar Mannan, M. Maridass and B.Victor / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 281-285. 2008.
(4)
Adiantum pedatum / Synonyms / The Plant List
(5)
Adiantum pedatum / Missouri Botanical Garden
(6)
Adiantum pedatum / Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Human Health / by Walter H Lewis, Memory PF Elvin-Lewis

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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