Adiantum incisum is an aromatic ornamental and medicinal plant. It is a fern found naturally in humid and shady regions and also grown as indoor plant for its beautiful fronds.
Adiantum incisum is known as Nilakantha-shikhaa, Mayurshikhaa, Vahrishikha in Ayurveda (some other plant species are also referred as Mayur Shikha in Ayurveda). It has astringent, tonic and febrifuge properties. Medicinally, the leaves are used as a cure for cough, fever and chest affection. They are also employed for diabetes and externally the leaf paste is used to cure skin diseases.
Adiantum incisum is used as a substitute for Adiantum capillus-veneris.
Botanical Description: An erect or spreading fern with cylindrical rhizome, with tufted spikes 5—10 cm long, more or less covered with brown hairs. The rachis and stem are dark brown colour. The lower half of the stem is densely hairy, and sometimes wears narrow pale brown scales.
Fronds linear in outline, 15—30 cm long, simply pinnate, often elongated. leaflets 1.2—1.8 cm long, nearly sessile, upper margin rounded and more or less cut, often deeply and repeatedly, the apex usually blunt, the lower line straight and horizontal, the lower leaflets slightly stalked, coriaceous, veins prominent, the rachis and both surfaces of the frond villose. Sori marginal, roundish or transversely oblong on the edge of the lobes, indusium of the same shape as the sorus formed of the reflexed margin of the fronds bearing the capsules on its underside, veins free.
- Rhizome is brown, soft with variable lengths upto 7 mm in thickness, paleae covering the rhizome, root present. Root is well branched, black colored, thin, wiry and arising in clusters from the underside of the rhizome.
- Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Whole plant
- Plant type / Growth Habit: Forb/herb
- Duration: Perennial
- Distribution: The plains and the lower slopes of the hills in Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Also found in Sri Lanka, Malay Peninsula, South China, tropical Africa, Java, Mauritius
- Habitat: Moist shady places especially on damp old walls and crevices of rocks
- Propagation: Through rhizome and spore
Vernacular names / Synonyms
- Ayurvedic: Mayurashikha, Nilakantha-shikhaa, Vahrishikha (Actiniopteris radiata is equated with Mayurashikha by CCRAS)
- Bengali: Biddapata, Madhussada, Mayurshikha
- English: Maiden Hair Fern, Trailing maiden hair
- Gujarati: Kaalo hansaraaj
- Kerala: Putramchari
- Khumi: Achaichong
- Marma: Jogemuchoi
- Punjab: Adhsaritakajhari
- Scientific name: Adiantum caudatum
- Sinhalese: Thuda-wediya
The botanical name of Maiden Hair is Adiantum incisum Forsk. Syn: Adiantum caudatum. It belongs to plant family Adiantaceae. Adiantum species are large genus of about 200 species. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
- Division: Pteridophyta – Ferns
- Class: Filicopsida
- Order: Polypodiales
- Family: Pteridaceae – Maidenhair Fern family
- Genus: Adiantum L. – maidenhair fern
- Species: Adiantum caudatum L. – tailed maidenhair
- Adiantum incisum Forsk.
- Adiantum inoisum Forsk.
- Adiantum flagelliferum Wall.
- Adiantum hirsutum Bory.
- Adiantum capillus-veneris
Constituents of Adiantum caudatum
The fern contains triterpenoids (including adiantone, isoadiantone) and flavonoids (including rutin and isoquercetin), hentriacontane, 16-hentriacontanone, adiantone, isoadiantone, β-sitosterol and fernene.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Mayurshikha (Whole plant)
Mayur Shikha is astringent and pungent in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is cool in effect (Virya).It is a Sheet Virya herb. Sheet Virya or Cool potency herb, subdues Pitta (Bile) Vata (Wind) and increases Kapha (Mucus). Sheet Virya herb gives nourishment to body and steadiness. It supports building of body fluids.
- Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Katu (Pungent),
- Guna (Pharmacological Action): Guru (Heavy)
- Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
Action / Karma
- Kaphahara: Pacifies Kapha Dosha
- Kanthya: Good for throat
- Kapha-pitta shamak: Pacifies Kapha-Pitta
- Mutral: Diuretic, increase the flow of urine
- Rasayan: alternative tonics, prevent or remove the effects of age, increase the vigour of healthy persons and cure the ailments of the sick
- Vishaghna: Poison-destroying
- Vranaropana: Wound healing
Mayurshikha is used in Ayurveda in treatment of many diseases including:
- Abdominal lump, asthma,
- Burning sensation, Body ache, Cough
- Diphtheria Acute, diarrhea, Dysuria
Epilepsy, Emaciation, Fever
- Raktapitta/Bleeding disorders
Raktavikara / Disorders of blood
- Spider bite
Swar bheda/Hoarseness of voice
Medicinal Uses of Adiantum caudatum
Adiantum caudatum is used in the treatment of chest affections, cough, diabetes, fever and skin diseases. The leaves are used in diabetes and as a cure for coughs and fevers. It gives relief in internal heat or fever due to cooling action. As it is diuretic it stimulates urine production and helps in urinary calculus.
Fresh or dried leaves are ground to make paste or powder. 50 g of this paste/powder is mixed in coconut oil 200 ml. This oil is applied on calp to check hair fall.
A syrup prepared from the leaves is useful.
Juice of fronds is given.
Diseases of the skin
Leaf paste is applied topically.
As an emetic, large dose of plant is given.
The juice of plant is given with pepper.
Leaf juice or powder is given.
Stop excess bleeding after child birth
Leaf juice (half cup) extracted by smashing is given to mother thrice a day for 2-3 days.
Dosage of Adiantum caudatum
The powder of whole plant is given in dose of 1-3 grams and juice in dose of 10-20ml.
Root powder is given in dose of 3-5 g and decoction in 10-20 ml.
Plant is emetic in large doses.