Health benefits of Edible Ferns

What are Edible Ferns?  Is it beneficial to us? Is it poisonous?  What are the health benefits of edible fern? Let’s know about edible ferns such as Lady Fern (Dheki saag) ( Fiddleheads) etc.

What are Edible Ferns?

The ferns which can be absorbed with no harmful effect can be called edible ferns. Most edible plants are perennial plants that live for two or three years.

The leaves or fronds are usually about 6-12 inches high. The leaves are long and lanceolate in shape. They are green leafy plants. The scientific name of lady ferns is Athyrium filix-feminaScolopendrium vulgare .

Edible Lady Fern

Edible Lady Fern

There are many names of edible ferns. They have herbal value too. They are Dheki saag or sak, Helecho Hembra Menor, Common Polypod, male fern, fiddlehead, hart’s fern Polipodio Común, Polypodium filix-femine Dryopteris, Ostrich fern etc.

Properties Of Edible Ferns

Fiddlehead ferns are a kind of edible ferns. It is unique by its appearance, nutrition, and taste profile. The curly young shoots of each fiddlehead ferns are carrying  35 calories per 100 g. However, they have a high-quality plant-nutrition profile that consists of healthy nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, and  omega-6, omega-3, essential fatty acids. Some edible ferns are cholagogue, demulcent, anthelmintic, purgative, pectoral and they are also full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C.

The fresh fronds of edible ferns are very high in antioxidants like vitamin-A, and carotene. Per 100 g of fiddleheads is pregnant with 3618 IU of vitamin A. This is more than 120% of recommended the daily need of vitamin-A. As Vitamin A is a powerful anti-oxidant it is very useful to us.

Edible Fern shoots are a great source of nutrients, minerals and electrolytes. The electrolytes like potassium, manganese, iron, and copper. In 100 gm of fresh shoots bear 370 mg or 7% of the potassium that is a daily requirement for an adult.

Some adult leaves and branches contain laxative and poisonous properties. So we have to collect the right one. The most edible ferns are tender and watery green in their outlook.

Health Benefits of Edible Ferns

There is evidence of this plant as an herb. It is mostly used in American countries as a vegetable. In South Asia, there is a popularity of taking it as a vegetable too. In Europe and India, this is a herb for many types of diseases. The root and root-like stem are used to make medicine.

This herb has an uncommon wild taste and an odor. On the lower surface, the fruit of the frond is in large golden dots or capsules. They are generally gathered from June to September.

Fern has natural poly-phenolic flavonoid constituents such as ß-carotenes. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.


They must not be eaten raw – see the notes above on toxicity. Used in spring, they are a bitter emergency food. Rhizome – peeled and slow-baked. Reports that the root of this plant was eaten by native North American Indians are likely to be mistaken, it was probably Dryopteris expansa that was used.

Poisonous Fern

Poisonous Fern

Most of the poisonous ferns are matured ferns. They are big in shape than the edible ferns. The edible ferns are wholly watery green but the poisonous ferns are deep green and reddish branches. There are red dots in the leaves of the poisonous ferns.

Ferns whether it edible or not we should not inhale it in the raw form.

Ferns for Caked Breast

Lady fern roots are the source of medicine. A tea of the boiled roots has been used to treat general to stop breast pains caused by childbirth. It helps to induce milk flow in caked breasts. It helps to cure the caked breastfeeding problems.

Ferns for Lung and breathing problems

The tea of the roots of the lady fern is so much helpful to our lungs. It refreshes our breathing system. It helps to inhale more Oin our lung. Consequently, it indirectly helps us bring more O2 in our blood.

Many people suffer irregular breath. This weakens their hearts. It also disturbs the health of our blood cells. So we should apply fern tea for keeping ourselves healthy from the inner side.

Edible ferns for Cough

Many types of edible ferns have the quality to give relief from the cough. It also cures old coughs. The tender fronds are used to make very effective medicine to work against cough.

The syrup made of fern for cough is a good tonic for cleaning our respiratory system. Maiden hair fern is very famous and has historical importance in curing cough problems. The dried powdered root also are being applied externally to heal sores.

Edible Ferns for Rickets

Rickets is a kind of disease that attacks especially the bones. It occurs due to malnutrition and lack of vitamin D, Phosphorous and Calcium. The sufferer usually owned a low density of his bone. Not only that but also their bones become curl and fragile. It is a childhood disease.

Comparison of Normal anatomy

Comparison of Normal anatomy

Rickets are usually observed in underdeveloped and developing countries. The children of these countries generally suffer from malnutrition which leads them to curve and fragile bones.

Edible ferns like lady fern, Dryopteris, Fiddleheads contain an outstanding level of Vitamins and minerals like phosphorous. The other constituents also enable the metabolic power of the patient. Early steps of the fern fronds treatment can save a child from the cure of rickets.[1]

Edible ferns for Hepatic diseases

The other name of hepatic disease is liver disease. Deceases like jaundice, liver pain, liver cirrhosis, HBs(Ag+) positive, liver cancer and many other liver infections are known as hepatic diseases. Most of the liver diseases occur due to virus attacks.

The cough due to liver infection can be cured by the application of Hart’s tong fern elixir (Scolopendrium vulgare). This fern has warm elements that help to cure liver infection and cough. By boiling it in wine and after that again boiling with honey it is the best herbal remedy for liver pain and cough for a liver infection.[2]

Another source prescribes the royal fern which is considered to be the best herb for jaundice.[3]

Edible ferns for Anthelmintic or worm treatment

The roots are tea as a purgative and an alcoholic extract for worms. Male fern is very useful to drive away worms from our body. There is a long historical evidence of a fern as an anti-worm medicine.

On August 23, 1856, a publication named Association of Medical Journal shows a well-researched result. In the page-718  in the journal, an article entitled with ” ON TAPEWORM, AND ITS TREATMENT BY THE OIL OF MALE FERN”  by William Janner the statements of Dr. A Fleming proves that male fern oil is a expel tapeworm either by directly killing it or not but in a certain duration it cures the host or patient.

Edible Fern for Fever and Pain

Almost all short of edible ferns have the quality of soothing pain. The external use of fern’s fronds and leaves also very fruitful in killing pain and fever. A tea of the boiled stems also cures labor pain.

Nancy Arrowsmith in her book named ‘Essential Herbal Wisdom: A Complete Exploration of 50 Remarkable Herbs‘ states that all kinds of fern is applicable to ease the pains of lumbago, rheumatism, gout and stiff or cramped limbs.

Ferns for Lack of appetite

In Brazilian alternative medicine fronds and sprouts of some kind of edible fern are used for healing tastelessness. The vitamins of edible ferns work very greatly on lack of appetite patient.

After consuming it results in a good craving for food. Especially the children who has lost their appetite for food due to junk food they are very beneficial for it.

An Ideal Dish for Diabetes

Ferns are edible. The Young shoots of numerous kinds of fern is harvested before they have fully unfolded to eat.They can be eaten cooked as a great vegetable. The people of diabetes who are avoiding carbohydrate to reduce blood sugar level, they can use this herb as their appetite fulfillment.

It also will help them to metabolize the food and it will supply the required vitamins and minerals. Thus fern is good food for the diabetes patient.

Fern for Heart and Blood pressure:

There is still to research on the topic that edible fern can be useful in treating the heart and high blood pressure. But we already have the information that potassium is a kind of electrolyte that is heart-friendly. It also reduces blood pressure. The sodium effects is also a great maintainer of a balanced heart rate.

As Edible ferns contain a huge amount of potassium it is a true perception that fern is a very useful herb for controlling blood pressure and keeping heart healthy.

Fern for preventing Cancer

To prevent any types of cancer vitamins A and C are the essential vitamins for the mission. Research studies suggest that organic foods enriched with vitamin A help the body protect against oral cavity and lung cancers.

Fern is a source of vitamin A and C. The researchers suggest that ferns helps to prevent womb cancers. It also helps to cure skin cancer. There are several web reports on the fern’s action on skin integrity.

Thus, Fern is a useful herb. It also has anti-radiation power. Mountain ferns are more powerful than the ferns of level lands. As fern has poisonous effects. So the modern herbalist does not suggest it as internal medicine.

Specially they do not suggest the pregnant woman and the infant to take it as oral herb. They prefer to prescribe smaller fern which is less potent and safe in taking as inner use.

Though there has some negative effect of many ferns. The edible soft ferns are not harmful. They help us by protecting against many diseases like cancer, inflammation, liver infection and viral cough and cold. So we should practice eating edible ferns.


1. The ferns of Great Britain: illustr. by J.E. Sowerby, Volume 1
By Charles Johnson, P-68
2. Hildegard of Bingen's Medicine
 By Dr. Wighard Strehlow, Gottfried Hertzka, p-69
3.Essential Herbal Wisdom: A Complete Exploration of 50 Remarkable Herbs
By Nancy Arrowsmith, P-49

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Vikram singh says:

    ???Thankyou very much is more information

Leave a Reply