Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina)

Discuss all aspects of herbal medicine and weed wisdom with other wise women and green witches... ask questions, share harvesting tips, plant allies, remedies, body care tips and personal experiences.

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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:38 pm

Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina)

Postby ItalianBee » Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:12 am

I first learned of this herb about a year ago, but didn't manage to gather any until this year - there's only one place where I know it grows wild. I have dried it and it does make a nice tea. This is what I have found so far about its uses, from the Plants for a Future website (PFAF.org, new to me):

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

The young fruits are eaten as a pleasant nibble[55, 62, 183]. The aromatic leaves, fresh or dried, are used to make a palatable tea[55, 62, 102, 183]. The leaves are also used as a seasoning[183].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Astringent; Blood purifier; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Odontalgic; Parasiticide; Poultice; Tonic.

Sweet fern was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it especially as a poultice to treat a variety of complaints[257]. It is still used for most of the same purposes in modern herbalism. The leaves are astringent, blood purifier, expectorant and tonic[21, 62, 222, 257]. A tea made from the leaves and flowering tops is used as a remedy for diarrhoea, headache, fevers, catarrh, vomiting of blood, rheumatism etc[213, 222, 257]. The infusion has also been used to treat ringworm[257]. The leaves have also been used as a poultice for toothaches, sprains etc[238, 257]. A cold water infusion of the leaves has been used externally to counter the effect of poison ivy[213, 222, 257] and to bathe stings, minor haemorrhages etc[238]. The leaves are harvested in early summer and dried for later use[238].
Other Uses
Incense; Lining; Parasiticide; Repellent.

The leaves are used as a lining in baskets etc in order to preserve the fruit[55]. The crushed leaves repel insects[102]. They can be thrown onto a camp fire to keep mosquitoes away[257]. The dried leaves have been burnt as an incense[257].

Does anybody else have any personal experience using this? It is a lovely plant and I should have gathered much more - there was plenty to spare.

Lady Alinor
Posts: 416
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:15 pm

Re: Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina)

Postby Lady Alinor » Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:34 pm

I love such information...current usage, traditional usage and ancient usage :D

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