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HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Asplenium ceterach

Asplenium ceterach

The Rustyback (Asplenium ceterach L.) is a fern belonging to the Aspleniaceae family.

Systematics –
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Pteridophyta Division, Polypodiopsida Class, Polypodiales Order, Aspleniaceae Family and therefore to the Genus Asplenium and to the A. ceterach Species.
The term is synonymous: Ceterach officinarum Willd ..
In Italy the following subspecies are present:
– Asplenium ceterach subsp. bivalens (D.E. Mey.) Greuter & Burdet;
– Asplenium ceterach L. subsp. ceterach;
– Asplenium ceterach subsp. cyprium (Viane & Van den heede) Viane.

Etymology –
The term Asplenium comes from the Greek ἀσπλήνος asplénos, a fern mentioned by Dioscorides (from the privative prefix α- a- and from σπλήν, ηνόϛ splén, enós spleen): a plant considered capable of curing disorders of the spleen.
The specific epithet ceterach seems to derive from the Arab name of the plant cetrack.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Rustyback is a typical plant of central Europe. The species is common in Eurasia, in regions with a mild climate, in dry and hot stations.
Its growth habitat is on old dry stone walls and rocks in humid, sunny and limestone areas.
It is currently widespread in Mediterranean environments and blooms from May to August.

Description –
Asplenium ceterach is a small fern that reaches 6-20 cm in height, with leaves arranged in a rosette with a linear and lanceolate shape. On the lower page, the leaves contain the sporangia called sori, resembling lentils in shape and size, which when ripe take on a brown / reddish color (hence the vulgar name of Rust grass).
The sori contain the spores that fall on the ground will give birth to new ferns.
The sori are linear, with rudimentary indusio, half hidden by the scales. Spores ovate, brown; echinato-reticulate perisporium.

Cultivation –
Rustyback is a wild grass of Mediterranean habitats that grows on old dry stone walls and on rocks in humid, sunny and limestone areas.

Customs and Traditions –
The Rustyback also takes the names of Grass rust or rust, Fern rust and Splinter stones.
In the past it was used to stuff pillows because it was believed that it had the property to pass pain and misfortune. On the eve of the feast of St. John, the stone-breaking herb was harvested because it was believed that whoever slipped a twig into his shoe on the evening of St. John would find “a hidden treasure”.
In the Middle Ages it was used as a medicine against diseases of the spleen.
In phytotherapy, Asplenium ceterach is proposed as an effective remedy for disrupting urinary tract stones (hence the name stonebreaker), as per the Mediterranean tradition, in the form of various pharmaceutical preparations also mixed with other medicinal plants.
In general, however, this plant has an anti-inflammatory and diuretic action, used for centuries to dissolve kidney stones.
The main advantage of the “stone breaker” is to eliminate all obstructions that may form in the urinary tract, completely destroying the stones. In addition to the property of “breaking” stones, this herb has many other properties.
The Rustyback has the following properties:
– Reduces inflammation and spasms;
– Calm the pain;
– Reduces fever (however not recommended in children under 5 years of age);
– It is slightly laxative;
– Protects and cleanses the liver;
– Eliminates viruses, bacteria and intestinal worms;
– Increases urination and is a powerful diuretic (useful in case of kidney failure);
– Reduces blood pressure;
– Regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels;
– Improves digestion.
As for the contraindications, Asplenium ceterach has none if it is taken respecting the normal therapeutic doses, except, of course, for cases of individual hypersensitivity.

Preparation Method –
Rustyback is used for its ability to dissolve or eliminate stones, both in the kidneys and in the bladder. The whole plant is used, since both the stem, the flowers, roots and fruits have medicinal properties. To make this product an excellent remedy against the formation of kidney stones, it is advisable to follow the correct instructions for the preparation of an herbal tea.
This should be drunk three times each day (before meals) and should be prepared with an amount equal to one glass of water for each teaspoon of herb.
We recommend taking herbal tea, as a remedy against the formation of kidney stones, for a limited time of 6 consecutive days.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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