Sweet Fern is one Minnesota grown plant that I start every day with. Without this plant it is very unlikely that I would be able to create the beautiful jewelry that you see on this website. I have Osteoarthritis in every joint of my body; including my fingers and toes. I wake up in tremendous pain every morning, and due to several food a medicinal allergies, there is very little modern medicine can offer me to ease this pain.
Sweet Fern is a God-send. It eases the pain and allows me to not just create jewelry, but also work a full-time job that requires a lot of sitting and typing.
The company I work for helps disabled individuals to get Social Security benefits, if they qualify. I have no doubt that without the help of Sweet Fern and some of the other natural plants and herbs that I brew into tea daily (or that Hank brews for me so it is ready before I even try to get out of bed) I would most likely be a client of this awesome company.
Online notes and links:
Comptonia peregrina, commonly called sweetfern, is an upright, deciduous shrub (typically growing 2-4' tall) which features simple, narrow, lustrous, pinnatifid, deeply notched, olive to dark green leaves (to 4" long). Insignificant, yellowish green flowers appear in spring and give way to greenish brown, burr-like nutlets. A native shrub of eastern North America which most often occurs in poor, sandy or gravelly, infertile soils, such as along roadsides. Fixes its own nitrogen.
Genus name honors Henry Compton (1632-1713), Bishop of London, dendrologist and patron of botany.
Specific epithet means exotic or immigrant.
Foliage is aromatic and resembles that of ferns, hence the common name of sweetfern.
Medicinal use of Sweet Fern:
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. It is still used for most of the same purposes in modern herbalism. The leaves are astringent, blood purifier, expectorant and tonic. A tea made from the leaves and flowering tops is used as a remedy for diarrhoea, headache, fevers, catarrh, vomiting of blood, rheumatism etc. The infusion has also been used to treat ringworm. The leaves have also been used as a poultice for toothaches, sprains etc. A cold water infusion of the leaves has been used externally to counter the effect of poison ivy and to bathe stings, minor haemorrhages etc. The leaves are harvested in early summer and dried for later use.
Edible parts of Sweet Fern:
The young fruits are eaten as a pleasant nibble. The aromatic leaves, fresh or dried, are used to make a palatable tea. The leaves are also used as a seasoning.
Other uses of the herb:
The leaves are used as a lining in baskets etc in order to preserve the fruit. The crushed leaves repel insects. They can be thrown onto a camp fire to keep mosquitoes away. The dried leaves have been burnt as an incense.
Known hazards of Comptonia peregrina:
How I use this plant is simple. I go out into the woods and harvest mature leaves, bring it home and hang it in my basement to dry or dry it slowly in my kithchen oven. Once the leaves are completely dry I rub them between my hands to seperate the twigs from the leaf materials, while crushing the leaf material. This is good enough to make tea. However, I like to go one step farther. I then put the leaf material into my coffee grinder and then grind it into a fine powder. To make tea it only takes about 1/2 tsp of this fine powder to make one 10 to 12 cup coffee pot full of tea. I put the powder into a coffee filter and brew it as you would brew your morning coffee.
My arthritis is only one of my medical conditions that I am treating, so I mix my sweet fern with several other herbs to get the daily help I need. My tea contains Sweet Fern, Golden Rod, Yarrow, Cinnamon, Ginger, Chag and a little coffee.
My hope is that by sharing this information someone may read it and find relief from debilitating pain as I have. I do not sell these herbs or teas. I only share my knowledge freely to help others.
If you should have questions, feel free to comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.