Polypodium leucotomos, Polypodium calaguala


Vivacious fern, 10-50 cm high. Creeping, dense, fleshy rhizome coated in dark flakes. Fronds are dark green, long, triangular, coriaceous, with a large petiole and divided in 20-40 sections or pinnules that start almost from the central nervous. Pinnules are lanceolate and have, in the back, sorus or lenticular sporangious, first in yellow and turning, later on, in brown. They are displayed in double lines which release yellowish spores in spring. It belongs to the Polypodiaceae.

This plant grows in the tropical or semi-tropical regions of America. It is found at an altitude between 700-2500 m in Central America and the Andes. The golden polypody is found in rich of humus with little calcium soil, among moss, rocks and stump of trees, always in forests and shadowy slopes.

As this fern is normally found in oaks, it was believed in ancient times, that it absorbed the vigor from the trees. Even by the end of XVIII century, some herbalists used the oak polypodium convinced that it had special properties. They also believed that spores had supernatural powers that could make whoever carried them invisible.

Part used

The rizome.


Internal use
  • The treatment of skin diseases is advisable: vitiligo, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne, eczemas, viral herpes infections, syphilis, etc.
  • Recurrent aphthous stomatitis.
  • Chronic enteritis due to sensitiveness to cow’s milk, parasites and diarrhea.
  • Allergic bronchospasms.
  • Degenerative osteoarthritis.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

External use

  • Skin disorders: vitiligo, psoriasis, acne, dermatitis, atopic eczemas, herpes virus infections, etc.
  • Sunburns.
  • To prevent skin aging by UV irradiation.
  • Vaginitis.


Hagers Hanbuch der Pharma-zeutische 1978.

Medicina Tradicional Chilena. Editorial de la Universidad de Concepción. Marco Montes y Wilkomirsky, 1985.

Vademecum de prescripción. Plantas medicinales. B. Vanaclocha, S. Cañigueral. Editorial Masson. 4ª edición.

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