Maidenhair Fern

Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Adiante du Canada, Adiante Pédalé, Adiantum capillus-veneris, Adiantum pedatum, Capillaire du Canada, Capillaire à Cinq Doigts, Capillaire Pédalée, Cheveux de Vénus, Culantrillo, Five-Finger Fern, Fougère Fer-à-Cheval, Fougère à Pétiole, Hair of Venus, Herbe de Freya, Maiden Fern, Rock Fern, Venus' Hair.


Maidenhair fern is a plant. People use it to make medicine.

Maidenhair fern is used for bronchitis, coughs, whooping cough, and heavy menstruation with cramps. It is also used to loosen chest congestion.

Some people apply maidenhair fern directly to the scalp for hair loss and to make hair darker.

Don’t confuse maidenhair fern with maidenhair tree, which is another name for Ginkgo biloba.

How does it work?

There isn’t enough information to know how maidenhair fern might work.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Bronchitis.
  • Coughs.
  • Whooping cough.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Hair loss.
  • Darkening hair color.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of maidenhair fern for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Maidenhair fern might be safe for most people when taken in the small amounts found in foods.

There isn’t enough information to know if maidenhair fern is safe when taken in larger amounts as a medicine. There are reports that large amounts may cause vomiting in some people.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s UNSAFE to use maidenhair fern if you are pregnant. In large amounts, it can cause vomiting.

There isn’t enough information to know if maidenhair fern is safe during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


The appropriate dose of maidenhair fern depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for maidenhair fern. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 1998.

McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, eds. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC 1997.

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