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The Fern (Aspidlum filix)
Smokh   Which is the best bed for people suffering from cramp, pains in the joints, rheumatism, rheumatic tooth-ache, rheumatic headache? A sack filled with dried ferns. The fern absorbs all these complaints and gives the sufferer complete rest. Moreover, fleas and bed-bugs run away from this bed to a great distance, they move out immediately, without ever glancing back, and not even the greatest attraction can induce them ever to return as long as the fern bag remains in place.
Upholsterers would, therefore be wise, if they filled mattresses with ferns instead of with sea-grass, and would, at the same time, do a good busines.
All kinds of ferns, even the smallest, used internally (in very small doses, however, and mixed with wine, 3/4 of wine to 1/4 of ferns) drive away all kinds of worms.
The large fern-root (weighs up to 4 pounds) has an astonishing, almost miraculous effect on the above-named diseases. Foot baths of this root, taken for a week or two, cure the worst spasmodic and gouty diseases. Still more effective are full-baths of these roots; they will cure even old, chronic cases. When rubbed with the vinegar in which the large fern-root has been boiled, all kinds of goiter and rheumatic stiffness will disappear. Thus the despised fern, which is uesed as a litter for cattle, is a great, magnificent gift of God for suffering humanity.
 
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Fern-root boiled in vinegar, and used as a compress cures gangrene of the feet, even though they may have turned black and blue already.
Fern leaves put into the shoes relieve tiredness and warm the feet.
In sudden attacks of rheumatism, lumbago, inflammatory rheumatism, sciatica, muscular rheumatism, get a bunch of fresh green ferns and apply to the aching spot immediately. At first the pain will increase, but will then disappear.
Cramp of the feet and calves of the legs are helped immediately by a single fernleaf tied aroundthem. Whenever deafness is caused by a cold and draught and therefore is rheumatic, stuff your pillow with fresh fern leaves and sleep on it, whereupon the hearing will gradually return. A still better remedy are tiny bags filled with fern seeds and stuffed into the ear. (The seeds grow on the lower side of the fern-leaves in large rows of black spots which, when ripe, fall off in the shape of fine black sand.)
In winter-time use tincture of ferns for embrocation; prepare as follows: chop the fresh leaves, place them in a jar or glass, cover them with alcohol, tie up the jar, and place it in the sun or warmth for 4-6 days. Then pour off the alcohol which has now become tincture of ferns, and is more valuable than all of the wellknown embrocations. The only tincture to equal it is Eucalyptus Oil.
The finest species of fern is the Eagle or Male fern, (Aspidium filix) which the Italians call Filix and the Romantach Swiss Faletga. The peasants call it Feather fern, Ostrich-fern. The leaves have no side-branches and resemble palms. The eagle fern grows in damp woods in fertile soil, and is often planted in gardens.
Certain mosses of the woods, especially Club-moss (Lycopodium), which puts forth shoots many yards long, have a similar effect on cramp and cramp in the legs, as ferns. Take a foothath repeatedly in the water in which the moss has been boiled. Spon. gings with a decoction of club-moss will destroy lice and vermin on persons and animals.
Cramp in the feet is inunetiately relieved by placing a bunch of club-moss in the bed, near the feet, the presence of radium in this plant most likely account for its healing quality.
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