Functional Activities of Ferns for Human Health

  • Cheol Hee Lee
  • So Lim Shin


Most people usually think that the ferns and fern allies have limited use as ornamental plants. But, they have offered many benefits for a healthy human life from ancie nt times. They were used as foods, teas and various forms of medicines for a long time. Nowadays, functional activities of ferns and fern allies for human health are being studied using several advanced scientific technologies. According to various studies, they have many secondary metabolites, as well as polyphenols, flavonoids, triterphenoids, etc. They also have some unique and undiscovered substances from higher plants. From the effects of secondary metabolites, ferns and fern allies showed strong functional activities on human health (e.g., antioxidant, antibiotic, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and more). So, ferns and fern allies could be useful for manufacturing many types of natural healthy foods and medicines. Some ferns like bracken were known as toxic plants. But, some toxins like thiaminase decomposed during the cooking process. The others are not poisonous in human doses. Furthermore, secondary metabolites of ferns and fern allies are also effectively used as natural cosmetic ingredients for healing skin, skin smoothening, anti-acnes, and protection against aging or UV damage. As ornamental plants, ferns have great value including their beautiful leaves and rhizomes. Several ferns showed strong air purification activities on removal of volatile formaldehyde. So, some ferns could purify the air by keeping the ferns indoor or outdoor. Consequently, ferns and fern allies are beneficial for a healthy life style and they would be useful economical and natural materials used in manufacturing various functional life goods and natural air purifiers. Ferns and fern allies are sources of amazing natural healthy products. So, we hope that people will enjoy their healthy and eco-friendly life with ferns.


Ornamental Plant Total Polyphenol Carcinogenic Substance Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate Fern Spore 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Horticultural ScienceChungbuk National UniversityHeungduck-guSouth Korea

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