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Polypodium (generic name)

treats Psoriasis, Dementia, Atopic dermatitis, Vitiligo, and Skin damage caused by the sun
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Alternate Title

Ferns, Anapsos


Herbs & Supplements


Calagula, calagualine, ferns, Polypodiaceae (family), Polypodium cambricum, Polypodium decumanum, Polypodium vulgare, samambaia.


Extracts of fern species (family Polypodiaceae) have been used traditionally for numerous indications, most commonly in South America and Europe.

The South American species Polypodium leucotomos L. is commonly known as "calaguala." Extracts of this species, called "anapsos," have been marketed and used as a treatment for multiple indications. Although laboratory and animal studies have reported anti-inflammatory, cytokine-suppressing, and leukotriene inhibitory properties, the small number of available human trials have not demonstrated efficacy for any specific indication.


DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Atopic dermatitis (eczema): Laboratory and animal studies report that Polypodium leucotomos extract (anapsos) may reduce inflammation. However, there is little information about the effectiveness of anapsos taken by mouth in people with atopic dermatitis.
Grade: C

Dementia (memory loss, disorientation), Alzheimer's disease: Limited scientific information is available about the effectiveness of polypodium in the treatment of dementia.
Grade: C

Psoriasis: Extracts of Polypodium leucotomos (called "anapsos") have been taken by mouth in Europe and South America for psoriasis since the 1970s. Poor-quality human studies report that anapsos may improve skin appearance. However, there is currently little information supporting the use of Polypodium leucotomos for psoriasis. More research is needed in this area before a recommendation can be made.
Grade: C

Skin damage caused by the sun: Early study shows that polypodium may help to prevent sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancers resulting from uncontrolled overexposure of human skin to solar UV radiation (UVA and UVB). Further research is needed to confirm these results.
Grade: C

Vitiligo (loss of pigment in the skin): A combination of polypodium and narrow-band UVB (NB-UVB) light therapy may help treat vitiligo, especially on the head and neck. Additional research is needed in this area.
Grade: C


WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antioxidant, arthritis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, cancer, diuretic, fever, high blood pressure, immune system stimulation, inflammation, neurodegenerative disorders, pertussis, rheumatism or joint diseases, tissue repair after brain damage, upper respiratory tract infection, vaccination in animals for Fasciola hepatica, water retention, whooping cough.


Adults (18 years and older)

For psoriasis, a dose of 120 milligrams of anapsos (Polypodium leucotomos extract), taken daily by mouth, has been used for short periods of time in limited research. For UV radiation, 7.5 milligrams per kilogram has been studied. For dementia, preliminary research reports using 360 milligrams daily for four weeks. Safety and effectiveness are not clear.

No clear topical (on the skin) dosing regimen has been reported or established.

For vitiligo, 250 milligrams of Polypodium leucotomos has been taken three times daily in combination with narrow-band UVB (NB-UVB) twice weekly for 25-26 weeks.

Children (younger than 18 years)

Little information is available about the use of polypodium in children and safety is not clear.

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