Wednesday 15 April 2015

Sweet Fern

Sweet fern is an impressive plant, its range stretches from northern Canada to some of the most southern states. Most blueberry pickers are very fond of this plant, as it is almost always growing along side blueberries constantly emitting its beautiful fragrance. Traditionally this plant was actually used to line baskets when harvesting those yummy blueberries to provide a cushion and the oils of the plant prevent the possibility of most food borne fungus's. Its also known for being 'that' plant to put over a fire to keep the mosquitoes and black flies away, and also has nuts that when roasted make fantastic flour for some traditional breads or just to add to the trail mix. This amazingly abundant herb is an outstanding incense when dried, its aroma is something you will never forget!

3 Proof of the medicinal claims of sweet fern


Sweet fern is traditionally called 'nagazhiim mshikiki' Which means intestine medicine. It is used for diarrhoea, constipation, diverticulitis, IBD's like crohns and colitis, to name a few.


Lots of amazing new scientific research to back this bad boy up!

Check this out! So all I wanted to see is anything that shows me sweet fern indeed helps the colon, I did not expect to find out that sweet fern not only helps the colon, but something within these scientific studies indicates with extreme precision that sweet fern has in 'specifically' helping the colon. So what I did was look at what compounds are most profound in sweet fern. I then took those compounds and found a seemingly innumerable amount of studies done on their 'specific' effects on the colon. 

Lets get started:

Gallic Acid

Gallic acid is a compound that sweet fern is very rich in and I will definitely be focusing on this one. Gallic Acid is potently antimicrobial to 7 types of bacteria; Staph A., e. Coli, V. Cholera, C. Perfringes, Bacillus cereus, Salmonella and Giardia. These 7 bacteria are the 7 most common bacteria known to infect the GI tract and cause an infection. When placed in vitro with other gram negative and gram positive bacteria gallic acid does not have significant activity but suddenly when place in vitro with these 7, activity is remarkably recorded.
Gallic acid strongly induces apoptosis in stomach cancers and has been confirmed a very amazing chemo-preventative in GI related cancers.

A huge factor in measuring colon cancer risk are phase 1 and 2 xenobiotic metabolising enzymes which are effectively modulated by the wondrous gallic acid perfect example of sweet ferns role in preventing colon cancer.


Super cytotoxic to colon and lung cancer cells. Also showed amazing anti-inflammatory effects on colon inflammation, specifically.
Severe IBD causes long term problems, it shortens the colon, causes rapid weight loss and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity is increased along with numerous inflammatory cytokines. Listen to this, Beta-C which is found in sweet fern (28%) lengthened the colon within 5 days, subjects gain weight back, MPO activity was totally suppressed and all inflammatory cytokines specific to colon inflammation were significantly reduced.

An enzyme called adenylate cylcase, new studies have found, is very dominate in people suffering diarrhoea with colitis, which is simply inhibited by Beta-C.

During a bacterial invasion, our bodies produce something called pro-inflammatory cytokines, Beta-C immediately inhibits this painful action probably allowing our bodies to heal and fix infection and inflammation before it is even felt!

Alpha Humulene

Showed to be quite cytotoxic to colon and lung cancer cells. Along with being cytotoxic to colon cancer cells it has a pronounced regulating effect on Il-8 secretion. Il-8 expression is necessary for colon cancer cell growth.


Cytotoxic to colon and lung cancer cells


Cytotoxic to colon and lung cancer cells


Stilbene is a very present compound in all Comptonia species and not only is it a potent antimicrobial for colon-specific bacteria but it shows virulent activity against newly developed strains like MRSA, mycobacterium bovis and even anthrax!

Additional amazing uses of sweet fern:

Ancient woodlands midwives were extremely fond of this beautiful herb to use as the infants first type of bath, usually for the first few months this is one of the main ingredients. Its antiseptic and antimicrobial qualities will keep the delicate infant squeaky clean with only a a dunks and a sponge bath a week. The tonic-like effects transfer transdermally to build up the little ones immune system.

Sweet fern is often used in an amazing compound mixture of smoke medicine, what we call Pkwenezagan. This addition offers some pretty uplifting smells, sweet fern has the same ether compounds that sweet grass has. So much so that sweet fern is often substituted for sweet grass when it wasn't available.

The Doctrine of Signatures:

Sweet fern is my wife's favourite example of how plants show us what they are good for by looking like the body part. When I was on route to Sudbury with one of my aunties she would not stop talking about bowel issues, she is a really 'open' auntie. After I had enough, somewhere between Espanola and Sudbury I got her to pull over and when she asked: “why?” I simply and forcefully said: “go find your colon” As i pointed to the roadside. She made a quick and fearful gesture with her hand toward her backside in attempt to hold her colon in and said: “what do you mean!” When she got into the ditch she screamed: “I found my colon!!” ..It was at this moment when I hope with all my heart that someone was driving by on the busy highway with their window rolled down to hear such a thing! Sweet fern looks identical to your colon, look at the folds of the colon and the folds of the sweet fern leaves.

We had a pretty traumatic incident in one of our old houses. It was just that, old. When we had a heat-wave in mid-July out of seemingly nowhere we both got the worst cases of diarrhoea ever. She was 4 months pregnant at the time, we only had one bathroom and prego's always win!

Long story short, I remembered some sweet fern that I had harvested 2 years prior during a moose hunt in Metagami. It was harvested after weeks of frost and there was even snow on the leaves.

Sweet fern is pretty volatile and at the time I thought that it should have been shot out after a year, I feared my only hope at remedying the diarrhoea would be useless. I made the tea anyway and mine was brewed so strong (I wanted it to work as fast as possible) My wife's tea, on the other hand, was super weak. See, she has millions of taste buds per square millimetre and I apparently have 1. After I drank my tea, and the wife drank about 1/4 cup of her (basically flavoured water) tea we had a nap and when we woke up we never had an explosive episode again! Thanks Sweet Fern!! 


  1. The sweet fern tea my daughter brewed me has been in a sealed mason jar in the fridge for about 3 weeks. Is it still viable?

  2. Delicious dried and mixed with garlic, sumac, and salt on fish or popcorn

  3. thank you for your these teachings

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  6. You mentioned 7 types of bacteria but Giardia is not a bacterium, it is a protozoan. :D