Male fern root, also known as Dryopteris filix-mas, Bear’s paw, Knotty Brake, and Sweet Brake, has been used for centuries as a defense against harmful organisms.  Beyond that, the male fern root also offers other health benefits for humans such as digestive support and detoxification.
Origins of Male Fern
Male fern is native to the temperate climates of Asia, Europe, and much of South and North America. The plant is highly adaptable and can grow well in both arid and fertile soils. The root of the male fern, usually harvested in early autumn, is dried for therapeutic purposes.
As far back as 103 A.D., Greek and Roman physicians used the male fern root to help expel harmful organisms from the intestines and digestive tract. In fact, it is rumored that Louis XVI of France paid large sums of money to add this powerful fern to his own medicine chest.
How Does Male Fern Root Work?
The male fern root is loaded with cleansing compounds known as filicin and filmarone. These essential oils are responsible for eradicating harmful organisms by creating a harsh intestinal environment that is toxic to harmful intestinal organisms. 
Studies also show that male fern root’s oleo-resins cause harmful organisms in the intestines to become immobile, preventing them from attaching themselves to the interior lining of human intestinal walls. In both human and animal case studies, male fern root was shown to have a dramatic effect on eliminating harmful organisms both inside and outside of the GI tract.
Health Benefits of Male Fern Root
Male fern root is also rich in antioxidants, folic acid, phloroglucinol derivatives, and several other necessary trace essential oils which promote overall digestive health.
Traditionally cited benefits of male fern root include:
- Powerful astringent
- Promotes harmful organism cleansing
- Supports digestive health
- Natural intestinal cleanser
- Encourages normal liver function
Supplementing With Male Fern Root
Male fern root works to establish an environment in the body that is inhospitable to harmful invaders. Have you used it? I’d love to hear from people who’ve had first hand experience. Leave a comment below and share your tips with us.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- Herbs 2000. Male Fern. Herbs 2000.
- James Copland, MD. A Dictionary of Practical Medicine. New York. 1869.