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Family Davalliaceae
Rabbit's foot fern
Davallia solida (Forst.) Sw.

Scientific names Common names
Scientific name Linn. Tagalog (Tag.)
Scientific name Linn. English (Engl.)

Rabbit's foot fern is an epiphytic, dimorphic fern with stems 1 cm or more in diameter. Sterile leaves are pinnate, sub-opposite, broadly deltoid, up to 20 cm long; base tripinnate and narrowly deltoid. Fertile leaves are more deeply lobed, with each lobe bearing several sporangia.

Widespread in the Philippines.
Also found in the Malay Peninsula to Polynesia.
Cultivated as a hanging plant or air plant.

Study yieled 4 new compounds: 3' -O-p-hydroxybenzoylmangiferin, 4'-O-p-hydroxybenzoylmangiferin, 6' -O-p-hydroxybenzoylmangiferin, and 3-O-p-hydroxybenzoylmangiferin, as well as eight known
compounds - mangiferin, 2-C-b-D-xylopyranosyl-1,3,6,7-tetrahydroxyxanthone, 4b-carboxymethyl-(À)-epicatechin, 4b-carb-oxymethyl-(À)-epicatechin methyl ester, eriodictyol, eriodictyol-8-C-b-D-glucopyranoside, icariside E5, and icariside E3.

Considered antibacterial, tonic, laxative, purgative, anti-inflammatory.

Parts used


No known medicinal use in the Philippines.
Rhizomes used as herb tonic; for treatment of osteoporosis, arthralgia and arthritis.
In Fiji, used as antibacterial; used for asthma, sore throat.
In Tahiti, used for dysmenorrhea, uterine hemorrhage, and to promote healthy pregnancy.
In New Caledonia, used for fish poisoning.
In Moorea, French Polynesia, used as laxative and purgative; for fractures and sprains; as cleansing bath for newborns.
In Chinese medicine, used for physique ache, inflammation, cancer and bone injuries.
In Samoa, leaves used externally as poultice for arthritis.

Phenolics / Antioxidant:
Study showed aqueous extract contains a high content of phenolic compounds with strong DPPH scavening activity.
Gusuibu / Antioxidant: Gusuibu is a known folk remedy in traditional Chinese medicine, composed of six different fern ingredients: Drynaria fortunei, Pseudodrynaria coronans, Daval-lia divaricata Bl., Davallia mariesii, Davallia solida (Forst.) Sw., and Humata griffithiana. In the study, all the extracts of six sources exhibited reducing power in a concentration dependent manner. Results suggest the total polyphenol compounds in the extracts of the six folk medicinal ferns used as "Gusuibu" contributes significantly to the antioxidant capacities.


May 2011

IMAGE SOURCE: Davallia solida / Drawn by A F Lydon, Engraved by Benjamin Fawcett / E J Lowe / Ferns: British and Exotic / Published by George Bell, 1872 / Classic Nature Prints
Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Medical Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry, and Bioactivity of the Ferns of Moorea, French Polynesia
/ Nicole Baltrushes / May 2006 / Moorea Digital Flora Project
Identification of antioxidants from rhizome of Davallia solida
/ Yung-Husan Chen, Fang-Rong Chang et al / Food Chemistry 107 (2008) 684-691.
Antioxidant activities and polyphenol contents of six folk medicinal ferns used as "Gusuibu"
/ Hung-Chi Chang, Guan-Jhong Huang et al / Botanical Studies (2007) 48: 397-406.
Samoan Medicinal Plants and Their Usage / ADAP 93-1 • Reprinted May 2001

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