Related entry: Aspidium
Liquid Extract of Male Fern contains in 100 grammes not less than 20 grammes of filicin." Br.
Extractum Filicis Liquidum, Br.; Oleoresina Filicis, Pharm. 1870; Liquid Extract of Male Fern, Oil of Fern; Oleum Filicis-Maris; Extrait de Fougere Male, Fr. Cod.; Extractum Filicis, P. G.; Farnextrakt, Wurmfarnextrakt, Wurmfarnol, G.; Estratto de feice maschio etero. It.; Extraeto etereo de helecho macho, Sp.
"Aspidium, recently reduced to No. 40 powder, five hundred grammes [or 17 ounces av., 279 grains]; Ether, a sufficient quantity. Place the aspidium in a cylindrical glass percolator, provided with a stop-cock, and arranged with a cover and a receptacle suitable for volatile liquids. Pack the powder firmly, and percolate slowly with ether, added in successive portions, until the drug is exhausted. Recover the greater part of the ether from the percolate by distillation on a water bath, and, having transferred the residue to a dish, allow the remaining ether to evaporate spontaneously in a warm place. Keep the Oleoresin in a well-stoppered bottle. Note: Oleoresin of Aspidium, on standing, usually deposits a granular, crystalline substance. This should be thoroughly mixed with the liquid portion before use." U. 8.
"Male Fern, in No. 20 powder, 1000 grammes; Ether, a sufficient quantity. Exhaust the Male Fern, by percolation with the Ether; from the clear percolate recover the ether by distillation and finally evaporate on a water-bath until an oily extract remains. Specific gravity not less than 1.000. Refractive index at 40° C. (104° F.) not less than 1.490. Contains in 100 grammes not less than 20 grammes of filicin as determined by the following process:—Dissolve 5 grammes of the Liquid Extract in 40 millilitres of ether, transfer to a separator, add 100 grammes of solution of barium hydroxide and shake vigorously and continuously for five minutes. Allow the liquids to separate and filter off 86 grammes of the aqueous liquid. Acidify this with hydrochloric acid and extract with three successive portions of 30, 20, and 15 millilitres of ether. Filter the mixed ethereal solutions, wash the filter paper with ether, evaporate, dry the residue at 100° C. (212° F.) and weigh. It weighs not less than 0.8 gramme, equivalent to not less than 20 grammes of filicin in 100 grammes of the Liquid Extract. This Liquid Extract contains not less than 20 per cent. of filicin." Br.
This is the only preparation of male fem which should be used; in its making aspidium which is green in color and recently collected should be employed. It is a thick, dark green liquid, usually containing a granular deposit of crystalline filicic anhydride, often erroneously called filicin or filicic acid, which is regarded as the active ingredient and should not be separated. For a method of determining the percentage of filicic acid by Daccomo and Scoccianti, see Ph. Centralh., 1896, 208. Wm. G. Greenawalt found both the liquid and the sediment effective tenicides, the sediment somewhat the more active. It has the odor of fern, and a nauseous, bitterish, somewhat acrid taste. According to Hayes, when an absolutely dry root and an anhydrous ether (containing but little alcohol) of a specific gravity below 0.728 are used, the oleoresin remains clear. Kramer states that a very active extract of male fern may be prepared by exhausting with ether the fresh juicy rhizomes collected in May or October freed from scales and cut into small pieces. The ethereal tincture should be kept in a cool place until wanted, when the necessary quantity should be converted into extract. One dose, two to four drachms, of such an extract is said to have always produced satisfactory results. (Ph. Ch., xxv, 578.) Oleoresin of male fern is sometimes found in the market containing noticeable proportions of copper, and in many cases it is colored green artificially.
For therapeutic properties of this oleoresin, see Aspidium.
Dose, from one-half to one fluidrachm (1.8-3.75 mils), administered in emulsion.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.