Botanical Name: Adiantum Capillus-veneris
Species: A. capillus-veneris
Synonyms: Capillaire commun, or de Montpellier. Hair of Venus.
Common Names: True Maidenhair, Southern maidenhair fern’, Black maidenhair fern, Maidenhair fern and Venus hair fern
Habitat: Adiantum capillus-veneris is native to the southern half of the United States from California to the Atlantic coast, through Mexico and Central America, to South America. It is also native to Eurasia, the Levant in Western Asia, and Australasia. There are two disjunct occurrences in the northern part of North America: at Cascade Springs in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Fairmont Hot Springs, British Columbia. In both instances, the warm microclimate created by hot mineral springs permits the growth of the plant far north of its normal range.
It is found in temperate climates from warm-temperate to tropical, where the moisture content is high but not saturating, in the moist, well-drained sand, loam or limestone many habitats, including rainforests, shrub and woodlands, broadleaf and coniferous forests, and desert cliff seeps, and springs. It often may be seen growing on moist, sheltered and shaded sandstone or limestone formations, generally south-facing in the southern hemisphere, north-facing in the north, or in gorges. It occurs throughout Africa in moist places by streams. On moist sandstone cliffs it grows in full or partial shade, even when unprotected.
Adiantum capillus-veneris grows from 6 to 12 in (15 to 30 cm) in height; its fronds arising in clusters from creeping rhizomes 8 to 27.5 in (20 to 70 cm) tall, with very delicate, light green fronds much subdivided into pinnae 0.2 to 0.4 in (5 to 10 mm) long and broad; the frond rachis is black and wiry.
The rootstock is tufted and creeping. The fern grows in masses, the fronds, however, separating and arching apart, giving the appearance of a perfect miniature tree. The stems are slender, of a shining, brownish black, the fronds themselves usually twice or three times pinnate, 6 inches to a foot long, the delicate pinnules fan-shaped, indented and notched. The sori are conspicuous, occupying the extremities of most of the lobes of the pinnules, in oval spots on the inner surface of the indusium, which is formed of the reflexed edge of the pinnule. The pinnules are very smooth: ‘in vain,’ said Pliny, ‘do you plunge the Adiantum into water, it always remains dry.’
Adiantum capillus-veneris is cultivated and widely available around the world for planting in natural landscape native plants and traditional shade gardens, for outdoor container gardens, and commonly as an indoor houseplant.
Part Used in medicines: The herb.
Constituents: Tannin and mucilage. It has not been very fully investigated.
Adiantum capillus-veneris is used medicinally by Native Americans. The Mahuna people use the plant internally for rheumatism, and the Navajo people of Kayenta, AZ use an infusion of the plant as a lotion for bumblebee and centipede stings. The Navajo people also smoke it or take it internally to treat mental illness.
It is sed by western herbalists to treat coughs, bronchitis, excess mucus, sore throat, and chronic nasal congestion. The plant also has a longstanding reputation as a remedy for conditions of the hair and scalp. It may be used as an infusion. Native American sometimes chewed the leaves of the plant to stop internal bleeding. An extract of the plant has diuretic and hypoglycemic activity in animals. It needs to be used fresh as it’s highly sensitive to time and heat. Can be used in a poultice (raw and crushed), directly applied to a wound or scalded and infused for several minutes for a topical poultice to treat eczema, suppurating infections and wounds. In the form of a hair lotion, it stimulates hair growth. In a tea (1 plant in 1 cup water), it is excellent in treating coughs and chronic skin disorders. In the case of poor blood circulation, take 3 cups daily. A tincture is also a good choice as an effective concentrated preparation: 2/3 oz in 1 cup alcohol.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.