See Filices, its plural. Pteris. Fern-. Blancnon Oribasii.
Fern is divided into the male and female; the male hath no branches, but only one main rib; the female is branched.
Filix aculeata. See Lonchitis.
Filix florida, ramosa, osmunda vulgaris, and palustris. Flowering fern and osmund royal. Osmunda regalis Lin. Sp. Pi. 1521. It is the largest of the true English ferns, bears no flowers, and its fruit in clusters. Towards their tops are round, slender, seed-bearing, curled heads of a brownish colour, covered with seeds: they appear in June, ripen in July, and are chiefly found in marshes. The roots consist of many small parts, matted together, blackish on the outside, and green within, covered with small fibres: they are equal in power to the roots of the other ferns; but a conserve of the tender buds or heads is preferable..
Filix foeminea, ramosa major. Female fern, brakes, or bracken. Pteris aquilina Lin. Sp. Pi. 1533.
Filix foliis polypodii. See Polypodium angustifoli1m.
Filix mas. Male fern, called also lonchitis; poly-podium filix mas Lin. Sp. Pi. 1551. The root of the male fern resembles that of the osmunda regalis, and is often sold for it. The roots of most of the species, when chewed, are of a sweetish taste, glutinous, but soon become bitterish, subastringent, and nauseous: they are used for destroying the taenia, and given in the following manner: the patient is first prepared by an emollient clyster, and a supper of panada, with butter and salt; in a morning, two or three drachms of the powder of the male fern root are given, washed down with a draught of water; and, two hours afterwards, a strong cathartic, composed of calomel and scammony, proportioned to the strength of the patient. To assist its operation, if necessary, a dose of purging salts may be given; and, if the worm is not expelled in a few hours, this process, at proper intervals, must be repeated. Dr. Cullen thinks it doubtful whether the ferns have any specific power in killing worms; for the stomach bears considerable quantities without uneasiness; and, alone, it has no sensible effects: its apparent benefit may, therefore, be derived from the drastic purge. In Germany, however, the taenia has been expelled by the repeated exhibition of the root, without the aid of any purgative; and it is possible that a medicine may be poisonous to worms, that has no effect on the human body. We have found that portions of taenia, before discharged alive, have, after the exhibition of the fern root, no longer shown signs of animation. The fern root has been used as a deobstruent, and been extolled against the rickets. The male fern, and those that bear flowers, are most powerful as antiseptics and astringents; the female fern is more viscid, saponaceous, and diuretic. Cullen's Materia Medica. Woodville's Medical Botany.
Filix querna repens. See Polypodium tenerum Minus.