Popular names: oak fern, earthen fern, viper grass.

Parts used: rhizome.

Pharmacy name: centipede rhizome – Polypodii rhi / oma (formerly: Rhizoma Polypodii).

Botanical description. This is a fern that forms a creeping rhizome up to 1 cm in thickness directly under the soil surface or in moss, very sweet in taste. Solitary pinnate leaves depart from it with a median vein protruding from below. Next to it are two chains of sori, initially orange, and later turning brown. Spore maturation occurs from June to August. In flat and mountainous areas, it equally often grows on forest soils poor in lime, but rich in humus, on rocks, in the crevices of which the centipede takes root, sometimes even on mossy tree trunks.

Collection and preparation. Harvested in autumn. Rhizomes are washed from adhering earth and quickly dried to a completely dry state.

Active ingredients: a non- cardinal amount of essential oil, tannins and bitterness, saponins, which cause a sweet taste.

Healing action and application. Occasionally, centipede is included in the composition of bronchial tea, since its mucus-thinning effect is not particularly pronounced. In the so-called blood-purifying teas, in choleretic and liver teas, this medicinal plant is also not often found, although its use here due to its choleretic effect and easy excretion is quite legitimate.

Application in folk medicine. Centipede is used as a tea for asthma, runny nose, hoarseness, chronic cough and fever, loss of appetite, constipation, jaundice, rheumatism and gout.

  • Centipede tea: 2 teaspoons topped with dried rhizome, pour 1/4 liter of cold water, bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Recommended 2-3 cups of tea every day.

Sometimes powdered rhizome is mixed with honey or jam and taken 2-3 times every day for 2 g.

Side effects were not observed.

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