This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Fil1x Pharm. Lond. Filix mas Pharm. Edinb. Filix non ramosa dentata C. B. Poly-podium Filix mas Linn. Male Fern: a plant of that class which has the fructification at the back of the leaves. This species has large doubly-pinnated unbranched leaves, with stalks rising singly from the root. The root consists of an oblong scaly body, terminating in numerous fibres. The plant grows commonly under hedges.
(a) Geoffroy, Memoires de l'acad. roy. des sciences ds Paris, pour l'ann. 1743.
The efficacy of fern root against worms was known in the time of Diofcorides; and towards the beginning of this century, Meffrs. Andry and Marchant published accounts of successful modes of exhibiting it in these cases. It was, however, fallen into neglect, till a few years ago, when it came again into notice, by being discovered to be the remedy which had become greatly celebrated in Switzerland as a specific in the cure of the taenia or tape-worm. The secret was purchased by the king of France, after its efficacy had been attested upon trial by some of the principal physicians at Paris. The following has been published as the mode of its exhibition. After the patient has been prepared by an emollient clyster and a supper of panada with butter and salt, he is directed to take in bed in the morning a dose of two or three drams of the powder of male fern root. The dose to infants is only one dram. The powder must be washed down with a draught of water, but nothing else must be taken till two hours after, when a bolus of calomel, joined with some of the sronger cathartics, is to be given. If this does not operate, it mus be followed by a dos of purging slts. By this method, the worm is commonly expelled in a few hours. If the srit trial does not scceed, the proces mus be repeated at due intervals (a).
(a) Precis du traitement contre le Tenia ou Ver slitaire, pratique a Morat en Suisse, examine & approuve a Paris. Publie par ordre du Roi. Paris, 1775.