Is The Maidenhair Fern Edible?


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Shelagh Young answered
Surprisingly enough the maidenhair fern, which is grown widely as an ornamental garden plant, has long been used in food preparation. It is an aromatic plant and the leaves can be used to create a syrup. This syrup used to be used to sweeten hot drinks. In Portugal a drink called Capilè is made of this maidenhair fern syrup with garted lemon zest and cold water. The syrup has also long been used medicinally for coughs and bronchial conditions. A popular remedy for coughs known as Capillaire was in use right up to the end of the 19th century. In Nepal a paste made from the leaves is applied externally to relieve headaches. Al ferns come with a health warning. Many contain carcinogens, bracken is the most well known of these. Others contain an enzyme which is known to deplete the body's store of B vitamins. So, as with fungi, expert identification is vital to avoid coming to any harm.

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