Aspidium. - Synonym. - Male Fern. The rhizome of Dryopteris Filix-mas Schott, and of Dryopteris marginalis Asa Gray (nat. ord. Filices).

Habitat

North America, Northern Asia, Europe.

Characters

From 5 to 15 cm. long, 10 to 25 mm. in thickness, and, together with the closely imbricated, dark brown, roundish, and slightly curved stipe-remnants, 50 to 75 mm. in diameter; densely covered with brown, glossy, transparent, and soft, chaffy scales; internally pale green, rather spongy; vascular bundles about ten {Dryopteris Filix-mas) or six {Dryopteris marginalis) in number, arranged in an interrupted circle; odor slight, but disagreeable; taste sweetish, acrid, somewhat bitter, astringent, and nauseous.

Composition

The chief constituents are - (1) Filicic acid, C35H42O13, a white, amorphous or crystalline body, said to be the active principle. (2) A fixed oil, 6 to 7 per cent. (3) Filicin, C35H40O12, a crystalline substance, soluble in Chloroform, Benzol and fixed and volatile oils. (4) Filix-red. (5) Resins.

Dose, 1/2 to 1 1/2 dr.; 2. to 6. gm.

Preparation

Oleoresina Aspidii. Oleoresin Of Aspidium

By percolation with Ether, distillation of the Ether, and evaporation. Dose, 1/4 to 1 fl. dr.; 1. to 4. c.c.

Action And Therapeutics Of Male Fern

Aspidium is the most certain anthelmintic we have for the common tapeworm (Taenia solium), and the Bothriocephalus latus. It may be flavored with ginger or peppermint. The intestine should first be emptied with a mild purge to ensure the worm not being protected by food. Then the aspidium should be administered, and about twelve hours afterwards another dose of the purgative should be given to clear away the dead worm. Very little food should be taken during the treatment, and the head of the worm should be carefully searched for in the motion. Recently several cases of poisoning have been reported, presumably not due to an excessive dose, but to the fact that castor oil was administered at the same time with it, notably increasing the absorption of filicic acid.

This remedy also kills the Anchylostoma duodenale outside the body, and has been successfully given to persons suffering from this parasite.