Polypodium. Polypody. Fern root. Polypodium vulgare.
Polypodium. Polypody. Fern Root.—Various species of this genus of ferns are asserted to have medicinal properties. Polypodium vulgare L., very common both in Europe and America, was believed by the ancients to be an active cholagogue purgative, and has been used in modern times as an expectorant in chronic catarrh and asthma. Dose, from one to eight drachms (3.9-31 Gm.), usually given with a cathartic. The rhizome, as it usually occurs in commerce, is from 2 to 12 cm. in length and 3 to 8 mm. in thickness, somewhat contorted, covered with brown, easily separable scales, which should be removed before being used. Its color is reddish-brown, with a tinge of yellow, its odor disagreeably oleaginous, its taste peculiar, sweetish, somewhat bitter, and nauseous. P. adiantiforme, of Porto Rico, is believed by the natives to be a powerful antisyphilitic. It must be used freely for several months in the advanced stages of the disease. P. friederichsthalianum, of Central America, has had similar properties attributed to it.