Bracken fern: health benefits and harms

Bracken fern: health benefits and harms

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The beneficial properties of the bracken fern have been known for many centuries, because this plant has been growing on the planet for more than 400 million years. Many legends are associated with it, and its leaves look like the open wings of the king of birds - the eagle. Unfortunately, people often do not pay attention to such unusual plants, but the value of bracken for the human body can hardly be overestimated.

Why bracken fern is useful for humans

Even in ancient times, the fern was appreciated for its beneficial properties. For more than one hundred years, it has been present in the diet of many peoples of eastern cultures.

The plant "from tops to roots" is used in cooking, cosmetology, medicine. It is excellent for diets, as it has a low calorie content, while being easily absorbed.

Bracken fern grows almost everywhere. Suitable for food are young leaves that have not yet bloomed, the so-called snails. At a later date, the plant becomes poisonous, and it is dangerous to eat it.

Important! Do not use freshly harvested leaves for food that have not been pretreated. They can cause not only nausea and vomiting, but also general intoxication of the body.

Caloric content of bracken fern

Bracken leaves are low in calories, so they are often used in many dietary dishes. Nutritionists recommend adding it to salads and as a side dish for meat dishes. Decoctions of this miraculous plant are very useful.

The calorie content of bracken is 34 kcal per 100 g.

As for the nutritional value, it looks like this:

  • fats - 0.4 g;
  • proteins - 4.55 g;
  • carbohydrates - 5.54 g.

The proteins that make up the bracken are in many ways similar in their properties to crops such as oats and wheat. In addition, in terms of the amount of protein, the fern is not inferior to such common crops as honey agarics, cabbage and potatoes.

However, the main feature of the plant is the high concentration of biologically active elements.

Vitamin content

The rhizome and leaves of the bracken fern contain the following beneficial substances:

  • carotenoids (lutein, carotene);
  • lipids;
  • steroids;
  • tannins;
  • glucose and thiaminase.
  • organic acids (vanillic, cinnamic, caffeic, aspartic, nicotinic, coumaric, etc.);
  • carbohydrates (arabinose, xylose, fructose).

Attention! The significant presence of vitamin C in the plant made it possible to include fern extract in drugs used in chemotherapy.

Among other things, bracken fern holds a leading position in comparison with other plants with a high content of vitamins. Scientific research has confirmed that the plant contains:

  • copper;
  • vitamin E;
  • magnesium;
  • calcium;
  • potassium;
  • iron;
  • ascorbic acid.

The benefits of bracken fern

It is difficult to overestimate the healing properties of the bracken fern. The advantages of the plant include:

  1. Frequent consumption of properly prepared young bracken leaves for food strengthens the immune system.
  2. The substances that make up it help the cardiovascular system work.
  3. The plant helps to normalize blood sugar, which means it is effective in diabetes.
  4. Saturates the body with iodine compounds, improving the functioning of the endocrine system and the thyroid gland.
  5. Helps strengthen bone tissue.
  6. It has a beneficial effect on the nervous system.
  7. Promotes the elimination of radionuclides.
  8. Increases human performance.
  9. Slows down the aging of the body, therefore - prolongs youth.
  10. Saturates the body with useful fiber, which is positively reflected in the work of the digestive system and metabolism.

For children

Bracken is often used in the treatment of children. Its poisonous properties are used as an antihelminthic agent. And the presence of useful substances helps in the treatment of diathesis and rickets.

Important! Due to the large presence of copper in the sprouts of the fern, the plant contributes to the saturation of the blood with oxygen. And this, in turn, eliminates developmental delays in children.

For adults

Traditional medicine in treatment uses not only the leaves, but also the rhizomes of the bracken fern. Decoctions are prepared from them, which help with coughing. The roots are also used as a wound healing agent.

Leaves, which are able to heat up arbitrarily, are used as a wrap for sciatica and rheumatism. In addition, decoctions of the leaves are used in the form of a solution for washing wounds: this helps to stop bleeding, eliminate pain symptoms, and wound healing.

The benefits of bracken fern in food

Today bracken fern is often used in cooking. A properly prepared plant has a pleasant taste and retains all the beneficial properties that nature has awarded it.

Salting of the delicate leaves of the plant has gained particular popularity. In terms of the method of preparation, this resembles the salting of mushrooms, and the salted plant is similar in taste to them.

Whatever it is planned to cook from a fern, its shoots must be boiled for 10 - 12 minutes. The water is slightly salted and drained after cooking. The product prepared in this way can be fried, marinated or stewed.

Traditionally, the fern was cooked in a copper pot. It was believed that this helps to preserve all the valuable properties of the product and improves its taste. Now on sale there are options for dishes that can successfully replace the old copper basins.

Stewed fern with onions and various types of meat is very tasty. To do this, the shoots boiled for 30 minutes are combined with the stew, the onions are added and everything is stewed together until fully cooked. It is good to add soy sauce to such a dish: it will add zest to the dish and make it more sophisticated. It can be consumed both hot and cold.

In addition, the Far Eastern bracken is used in the preparation of soups, cabbage soup, side dishes and other dishes of traditional cuisine. Some culinary specialists even prepare desserts from the plant.

Very often stewed fern is combined with rice. Then oriental notes are felt in the dishes.

There are many cooking options. If you wish, you can always find something that suits your taste and benefits the body.

Limitations and contraindications

Using bracken in home healing, you need to be very careful and not get carried away. The benefits and harms from the use of bracken fern in human treatment are not equivalent. It should be understood that the plant is poisonous, and with its excessive use, poisons can accumulate in the body and bring an effect that is completely opposite to the expected one. In addition, there are categories of people who are contraindicated to use fern. These include:

  • hypotension (people with low blood pressure);
  • pregnant or nursing mothers;
  • persons with chronic diseases during their exacerbation;
  • Small children.

Despite the fact that this plant contains a huge amount of vitamins and other valuable elements, the poison in its composition should not be discounted. An overdose in the use of bracken fern can provoke the following symptoms:

  • severe pain in the temporal or occipital region;
  • dizziness;
  • nausea, and in some cases, vomiting;
  • a sharp decrease in blood pressure, up to fainting;
  • slow heartbeat;
  • suppression of respiratory functions, shortness of breath.

If the overdose is too large, then even death is possible. To prevent this from happening, you should strictly adhere to the dosages, follow the recommendations for using the plant indicated on the packages and in the recipes.

Bracken fern can bring both benefits and harm to health. Therefore, if previously the plant was not part of the human diet, then before using it, you need to consult with a doctor who will tell you how best to use it with a phytoproduct to obtain maximum benefit and at the same time avoid negative consequences.


The beneficial properties of bracken fern can help fight many diseases, as well as add variety to the daily menu. However, due to the poisonous properties of the plant, care should be taken, and it should also be borne in mind that adding a plant to the diet should be an organic part of the system of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Then the Far Eastern bracken fern with all the wealth of its medicinal properties can become one of the building blocks of good health.

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