Avenca (Adiantum capillus-veneris) leaf powder Avenca Powder

Adiantum capillus-veneris

This product is no longer sold by Raintree Nutrition, Inc. See the main product page for more information why. Try doing a google search for products available from other suppliers or see the rainforest products page to find other companies selling rainforest herbal supplements or rainforest plants if you want to make this rainforest formula yourself.

Avenca has long held a place in herbal medicine systems worldwide. In European herbal medicine, its documented use predates the era of Dioscorides and Pliny (23-79 A.D.). Culpepper (1787 ed.) said, "This and all other Maiden Hair Ferns is a good remedy for coughs, asthmas, pleurisy, etc., and on account of its being a gentle diuretic also in jaundice, gravel and other impurities of the kidneys."* For more information about avenca (Adiantum capillus-veneris), please refer to the Database File for Avenca in the Tropical Plant Database. To see photographs of avenca, click here.

Traditional Uses:* for respiratory problems (coughs, bronchitis, colds, flu, pneumonia, excessive mucous/phlegm); for hair loss; for gallstones; for menstrual disorders (interruption or absence of menstrual cycle); as a blood cleanser and liver detoxifier

Suggested Use: This plant is best prepared as an infusion (tea). Use one teaspoon of powder for each cup of water. Pour boiling water over herb in cup and allow to steep 10 minutes. Strain tea (or allow settled powder to remain in the bottom of cup) and drink warm. It is traditionally taken in 1/2 cup amounts, twice daily. For more complete instrutions on preparing herbal infusions see the Methods for Preparing Herbal Remedies Page.


  • Not to be used while pregnant.
  • Avenca has been documented to lower blood sugar levels in animal studies. It is probably contraindicated for people will hypoglycemia.
  • The plant has shown to have an anti-implantation effect in animal studies and may prevent conception. Couples seeking fertility treatment or pregnancy should not take avenca.
  • Due to its effect on fertility and menstruation, avenca may have estrogen-like effects and should probably be avoided by women with estrogen-positive cancers.
Drug Interactions: Avenca may potentiate insulin and antidiabetic drugs

Third-Party Published Research*

All available third-party research on avenca can be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the published research on avenca is shown below:

Antimicrobial Actions:
Singh, M., et al. "Antimicrobial activity of some important Adiantum species used traditionally in indigenous systems of medicine. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Jan 17; 115(2): 327-9.
Mahmoud, M. J., et al. “In vitro antimicrobial activity of Salsola rosmarinus and Adiantum capillus-veneris.” Int. J. Crude Drug Res. 1989; 27(1): 14–16.
Husson, G. P., et al. “Research into antiviral properties of a few natural extracts.” Ann. Pharm. Fr. 1986; 44(1): 41–8.

Anti-inflammatory & Pain-relieving Actions
Haider, S., et al. "Anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive activities of ethanolic extract and its various fractions from Adiantum capillus veneris Linn." J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Dec 8;138(3):741-7.

Anti-fertility Actions:
Murthy, R. S. R., et al. “Anti-implantation activity of isoadiantone.” Indian Drugs 1984; 21(4): 141–44.
Murti, S. “Post coital anti-implantation activity of Indian medicinal plants.” Abstr. 32nd Indian Pharmaceutical Cong. Nagpur. 1981; Abstract D14: 23–5.

Hypoglycemic Actions:
Neef, H., et al. “Hypoglycaemic activity of selected European plants.” Phytother. Res. 1995; 9(1): 45–8.
Neef, H., et al. “Hypoglycemic activity of selected European plants.” Pharm. World & Sci. 1993; 15(6): H11.
Jain, S. R., et al. “Hypoglycaemic drugs of Indian indigenous origin.” Planta Med. 1967; 15(4): 439–42.

Phototropic Actions:
Iwata, T., et al. "Identification of the C=O Stretching Vibrations of FMN and Peptide Backbone by (13)C-Labeling of the LOV2 Domain of Adiantum Phytochrome3." Biochemistry. 2006 Dec; 45(51): 15384-15391.
Tsuboi, H., et al. "Negative phototropic response of rhizoid cells in the fern Adiantum capillus-veneris." J. Plant Res. 2006 Sep; 119(5): 505-12.
Doi, M., et al. "The fern Adiantum capillus-veneris lacks stomatal responses to blue light." Plant Cell Physiol. 2006; 47(6): 748-55.
Suetsugu, N., et al. "A chimeric photoreceptor gene, NEOCHROME, has arisen twice during plant evolution." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2005 Sep; 102(38): 13705-9.

* The statements contained herein have not been evaluated
by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is
not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.
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Last updated 12-17-2012