Maidenhair Fern

(Adiantum capillus-veneris) Adiantum is from a Greek word meaning unmoistened, because the fern has the property of repelling moisture, a peculiarity that was attributed to the hair of Venus (capillus-veneris), who when she rose from the sea came out with dry hair. So, ever since these legends arose, it has been used in hair lotions, and particularly in lotions to prevent the hair going out of curl on damp days. The doctrine of signatures ensured that it should be used for alopecia; it is the ashes of the fern, mixed with olive oil and vinegar, that are used (Leyel. 1937). It was used too for lung complaints, like coughs and breathing difficulties, and it was also recommended for jaundice and swollen joints (Addison. 1985).

In Brazilian belief, maidenhair fern will wilt if looked at by by the victim of the evil eye (P V A Williams).

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