Indigenous and growing in the shady pine forests over most of the U.S. ( Male Fern)
The ROOT is the part used. The proper time for collecting the root is during the summer when it abounds more in the active principles than at any other season. It should be carefully prepared as it deteriorates rapidly when kept and in about 2 years becomes entirely inert. In powdering the root, only the internal portion should be preserved. The dried root has a peculiar but feeble odor and a sweetish, bitter, astringent, nauseous taste.
The male fern is a famous remedy used for the expulsion of all kinds of worms, especially tape worms.
The widow of a Swiss surgeon. Madam Nouffer, attained such fame in treating tapeworm that the King of France purchased the secret of her treatment and published it in 1775. The treatment was to give a free dose of the powdered male fern, fol- lowed in 2 or 3 hours by an active cathartic, repeating the dose in 2 or 3 days until the worm was passed. European physicians used this article most successfully after this. It is claimed, however, that a German physician had used the male fern in a similar manner before Madam Nouffers secret was known.
It is claimed that the medicine acts specifically against the worms which it speedily destroys, and this favors its expulsion from the body without producing any severe or unpleasant symptoms.
The medicine may be given in powder or in fluid extract. The dose of the powder is 1 to 3 dr. to be given in the form of electuary or emulsion and repeated morning and evening for 1 or 2 days successively. Or the powder may be taken in capsules, in honey, or in infusion. The emulsion is made as a thick mucilage of gum arabic and water adding 1/2 to 1 dr. of powder. It should be taken on an empty stomach in the morning, repeating if necessary in 2 or 3 days. Follow with a purge of senna with ginger or of butternut bark, if desired. The dose of the fluid X is from 12 to 24 gr. The decoction is used in the proportion of 1 oz. root to 1 pt. water.
The oil extracted from the root is taken in doses of 30 drops in emulsion or capsules, or in warm water night and morning.
A good method for giving children male fern is as follows: take equal parts of the fluid extract and glycerine, place the bottle in warm water to get them well mixed, shake well, and give as follows: 4-7 years, 6 drops in jam; 7-12 years, 12 drops in jam, and over 12 years, 1 to 2 t. in 1/2 C. cold tea about 6 A.M. on an empty stomach.
For those over 12 years, follow with 2 oz. Senna, M oz. mt. flax, and 1 large lemon, sliced. Cover with 2 pts. boiling water and let steep 1/2 hr. Give 1/2 pt. at 8 A.M., breakfast at 9 A.M. Repeat once a week for 3 or 4 weeks.
The author had tapeworms as a child. The M.D. ordered a tea made of pumpkin seeds, fasting that day. To my recollection, that took care of the worms quite thoroughly.