This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
ROYAL FLOWERING FERN. Osmunda Regalis.
COMMON NAME. Buckhorn Brake.
MEDICINAL PART. The root.
Description. -- This Fern has a hard, scaly, tuberous root, quite fibrous, and a whitish core in the centre. The fronds are three or four feet high, bright green, and doubly pinnate. The numerous leaflets are sessile and oblong, some of the upper ones cut.
History. -- This beautiful Fern is found in meadows, and low, moist grounds, throughout the United States, blossoming in June. The main root or caudex is the officinal part; it is about two inches long, and has the shape of a buck's horn. It contains an abundance of mucilage, which is extracted by boiling water. The roots should be collected in August, or about the latter part of May, and dried with great care, as they are apt to become mouldy.
The Osmunda Cinnamomea, or cinnamon-colored Fern, is inferior to the preceding, but is frequently used for the same medical purposes.
Properties and Uses. -- Mucilaginous, tonic, and styptic. Used in coughs, diarrhoea, and dysentery; also used as a tonic during convalescence from exhausting diseases. One root, infused in a pint of hot water for half an hour, will convert the whole into a thick jelly, very valuable in leucorrhoea and other female weaknesses. The mucilage mixed with brandy is a popular remedy as an external application for subluxations and debility of the muscles of the back. For internal use the roots may be infused in hot water, sweetened, and ginger, cinnamon, brandy, etc., added, if not contra-indicated.