Mayurshikha (Adiantum incisum) Information, Uses and More

Mayurshikha plant information like botanical information, medicinal properties. Know it’s health benefits and medicinal uses in Ayurveda. Learn about safety profile like contraindications, dosage and side effects.

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.

Mayurshikha tree medicinal uses

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 an 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.

General Information

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 color. 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 up to 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

Scientific Classification

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 the 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


  1. Adiantum incisum Forsk.
  2. Adiantum inoisum Forsk.
  3. Adiantum flagelliferum Wall.
  4. Adiantum hirsutum Bory.
  5. 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 the body, and steadiness. It supports the building of the body fluids.

  1. Rasa (taste on the tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Katu (Pungent),
  2. Guna (Pharmacological Action): Guru (Heavy)
  3. Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
  4. Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)

Action / Karma

  1. Kaphahara: Pacifies Kapha Dosha
  2. Kanthya: Good for throat
  3. Kapha-pitta shamak: Pacifies Kapha-Pitta
  4. Mutral: Diuretic, increase the flow of urine
  5. Rasayan: alternative tonics, prevent or remove the effects of age, increase the vigour of healthy persons, and cure the ailments of the sick
  6. Vishaghna: Poison-destroying
  7. Vranaropana: Wound healing

Mayurshikha is used in Ayurveda in the treatment of many diseases including:

  • Abdominal lump, asthma,
  • Burning sensation, Body ache, Cough
  • Diphtheria Acute, diarrhea, Dysuria
    Epilepsy, Emaciation, Fever
  • Oedema
  • Raktapitta/Bleeding disorders
    Raktavikara / Disorders of blood
  • Spider bite
    Swar bheda/Hoarseness of voice
    Vertigo, Visarapa/Erysipelas
  • Vrana/Ulcer

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.

Chronic cough

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 the plant are given.


The juice of the plant are given with pepper.

Liver diseases

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.

The Dosage of Adiantum caudatum

The powder of whole plant is given in a dose of 1-3 grams, and juice in a dose of 10-20ml.

Root powder is given in a dose of 3-5 g, and decoction in 10-20 ml.


Plant is emetic in large doses.


  1. mayur shika is different from the one described here..
    clarify which one is correct..

    Filename: Actiniopteris_dichotoma.jpg
    Botanical name : Actiniopteris dichotoma Bedd.
    Family : Polypodiaceae



    Rasa : Tikta, Kashaya, Katu
    Guna : Lakhu.
    Virya : Ushna


    English : Peacock’s tail
    Hindi : Mayursikha, Morpamkhi
    Malayalam : Nanmukhappullu, Mayurasikha, Mayilatum sikha
    Distribution – Throughout the rocky hillsides of Western ghats.

    • Thank you
      Adiantum incisum is known as Nilakantha-shikhaa, Mayurshikhaa, Vahrishikha in Ayurveda (some other plant species are also referred as Mayur Shikha in Ayurveda). There are more than 200 species, i will confirm it and update post accordingly, thank you again. in between you can check this. Both are Mayurshikha.

      Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants of India (Vol. 1)
      By R.K. Bhutya

  2. Very good informtion more usefull

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.