This section is from the "A Handbook of Useful Drugs" book, by State Medical Examining and Licensing Boards.
The dried rhizome of several species of Dryopteris; used only in the form of:
An oleoresin prepared by extracting aspidium with acetone, evaporating and recovering the solvent.
Properties : The most important constituent of male fern is fllicic acid.
Action and Uses: Ordinarily the active constituents of aspidium are not absorbed and produce no symptoms except some nausea. If absorption occurs, violent symptoms of poisoning may ensue. The symptoms are excessive vomiting and purging, great weakness, spasms in the extremities, convulsions, stupor deepening into coma and collapse. Disturbances of sight and hearing may occur and permanent blindness sometimes follows. Jaundice has been observed
Oleoresin of aspidium is used as a teniacide against ordinary tapeworm, but it is said to be more efficient against the Bothrioccphalus than against ordinary tenias.
Dosage: 2 gm. or 30 grains is given by the Pharmacopeia, but most authorities recommend a larger dose. The dose should be proportioned to the strength and health of the patient. Robust males can take as much as 8 gm. or 2 fluidrams, while women should be given smaller doses and special caution should be exercised in administering the drug to anemic or debilitated persons. Children of 4 years may take 4 gm. or 60 grains.
Before this remedy is given, the alimentary canal should be emptied by a light diet or fasting for twenty-four hours and the administration of a saline cathartic in the morning before the anthelmintic is given. The drug should be given early in the morning and is beat directed to be taken in capsules containing 0.3 gm. or 5 grains, or in the form of emulsion. The total quantity may be given in divided doses at intervals of fifteen minutes and the last dose followed in three hours by a saline laxative. Castor oil or other fixed oils should not be given, because they favor the absorption of the active principle.
A dose of 8 gm. or 2 drams has been fatal to a child and 25 gm. or 6 drams have several times proved fatal to adults.