Drynaria is a genus of large ferns most commonly spread in the tropical forests. The numerous species of the fern mostly vary by types of the frond: from the large, long, spore-bearing fronds, to short, sometimes rounded fronds, which collect leaf litter and debris. Drynaria species are called “basket ferns” due to their peculiar function – they collect the rain drops into so-called “nest leaves” providing proper hydration. As the plant grows, maturing fronds droop over the sides of the basket. The most common species of the drynaria genus are drynaria laurentii, drynaria rigidula and drynaria fortunei. The usually reach height 1.2 -2.4 meters, have thick creeping rhizome or stem with several branches of green or yellow leaves.
Drynaria prefers to grow in light, partial or full shade with average watering. The two major methods of the fern propagation are the rootball division and typical natural spread of spores.
Cut and dried into slices, drynaria rhizome is used in the various preparations. Fresh rhizome is valued in the herbal medicine for its benefits in an external uses.
Drynaria rhizome is not only found in dried forms, but may be released in pill, powder and decoction forms. Usually, the variety of drynaria products is sold in most health food stores and herbal shops.
The roots and stems of the plant containnaringin and naringenin from hydrolysis. The active chemicals in the drynaria rhizome positively influence bone cells, protecting and healing them by enhancing the calcium absorption of bones, increasing blood calcium and inorganic phosphorus levels.
In traditional Chinese medicine, drynaria is greatly favoured for being one of the most important and effective herbs that can be used to heal damaged bones and ligaments (even the Chinese name of drynaria is translated as “mender of shattered bones”) Its bitter and warm properties are also beneficial for kidney disorders and acts as kidney tonic, for liver diseases, diarrhoea, toothache, bleeding gums and tinnitus. In addition, drynaria can be applied topically to heal wounds and stop bleeding. Alopecia, the condition connected with the hair loss, is successfully treated with drynaria too. It stimulates hair growth and strength. Other indicated uses of the herb include dyspepsia, phthsis, and fever. Some researches attribute to drynaria sex- and heart-tonic properties.