Ostrich Fern – 10+ Uses, Health Benefits of Fiddleheads

Ostrich Fern – 10+ Uses, Health Benefits, and Side effects of Ostrich Fern /Fiddlehead Fern/Matteuccia Struthiopteris.


A variety of medicinal plants have been traditionally used in the treatment of various diseases since ancient times. Plants rich in these medicinal properties are especially used in Ayurvedic medicine. Fiddlehead fern is one of the most widely used medicinal plants in India as well as in Assam.

What is Ostrich Fern/Fiddlehead Fern?

Ostrich Fern - 10+ Uses, Health Benefits of Fiddleheads
Ostrich Fern

Ostrich Fern is a medicinal herb or leafy veggie. It is called ‘Fiddlehead fern’ in English. This plant is a member of the family ‘Onocleaceae’. These are perennial plants that thrive in temperate climates and well-drained soils. The scientific name of the plant is- ‘Matteuccia struthiopteris’. Canada is the only country in the world that has a history of cultivating Ostrich Fern. This veggie is delicious to eat and rich in medicinal properties. It is used as an antidote for various diseases due to its medicinal properties.

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Origin & history of Ostrich Fern/Matteuccia struthiopteris

Many centuries ago, all the French settlers first identified the Ostrich Fern plant as a rare delicacy. It is said that they borrowed the idea from all Americans and Indians. Canada is a country that shares a long history of cultivating Fiddleheads. In fact, all Canadians associated the plant species with the belief that they had a theme of lodging and boating.

Since the Middle Ages, the plant has been recognized as a traditional food in countries such as Asia, New Zealand, Australia, and America.

Plant description

The Ostrich Fern is a deciduous plant 5 feet long with a U-shaped groove along the stem. The leaves are pinnate or epanet which are green in color and usually 4 feet long. The stalks are about 4 cm in diameter and 10-12 cm in height. There are different types of Ferns plants.

There are many health benefits of Ostrich Fern. These benefits are very effective in protecting our body from various inflammations, liver infections, colds and coughs. A type of medicine is made from the root of the female Fiddleheads plant which is effective in curing breast pain during childbirth. It keeps our respiratory system fresh and cures chronic coughing. Powder made from the dried roots of this plant heals wounds. This plant is considered to be the best medicine for jaundice. It is also very effective for fever and pain. This veggie is good food for diabetics. The various nutrients in it control appetite.

Following are the nutrients contained per 100gm of Ostrich Fern:

  • Calories : 34
  • Total Fat : 0.4 gram
  • Cholesterol : 0mg
  • Sodium : 1miligram
  • Potassium : 370 gram
  • Carbohydrate : 6 gram
  • Protein : 4.6gram
  • Vitamin A : 72%
  • Vitamin C : 44%
  • Calcium : 3%
  • Iron : 7%
  • Vitamin D : 0%
  • Cobalamin : 0%
  • Magnesium : 8%

Scientific classification of Matteuccia struthiopteris

  • Kingdom : Plantae
  • Clade : Tracheophytes
  • Division : Polypodiophyta
  • Class : Polypodiopsida
  • Order : Polypodiales
  • Sub order : Aspleniaceae
  • Family : Onocleaceae
  • Genus : Matteuccia
  • Species : Struthiopteris
  • Scientific name : Matteuccia struthiopteris

Benefits of Ostrich Fern/Fiddlehead Fern

1. Helps in losing belly fat:

The Fiddleheads plant has very few calories, with only 34 calories per 100 grams of it. Ostrich Fern contains fiber. The best way to lose belly fat is to lose weight and fiber is one of the best natural appetite suppressants. These benefits of Ostrich Fern can help in weight loss. Studies have shown that soluble sugar reduces the levels of appetite hormones produced by the body.

2. Fights against infection:

Every 100 grams of Ostrich Fern contains an effective natural water-soluble antioxidant (44% of vitamin C) which improves immunity in the body against infectious agents and cures cancer-free radicals in the body.

3. Maintains a healthy Blood Pressure Level:

Ostrich Fern has high potassium content and 360 mg of potassium compared to sodium. People with high blood pressure may get the benefits from eating Fiddleheads.

4. Great source of Manganese:

Ostrich Fern is a rich source of manganese. Manganese is essential for many of the enzymes that help regulate blood sugar and thyroid function. 100gm of Fiddlehead Fern contains 26% of manganese. Manganese deficiency can be associated with Damaged Fertility, Slow Growth, Congenital Disability, and Usual Weakness.

5. Helps to increase red blood cells:

Consuming an Iron-rich diet can increase your body’s production of red blood cells. Fiddlehead Fern is the source of iron. The body needs iron, vitamin B12, folate and other nutrients to produce red blood cell and hemoglobin and the Fiddlehead Fern plant provides almost everything.

6. Rich in Antioxidant:

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant found in plants. It has been linked to a reduction in the risk of some cancers. Researchers have suggested that increasing beta-carotene use up to 1.2-2.7 mg per day reduces the risk of lung cancer by more than 40 percent. Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, Potassium, and Calcium are very effective in curing stomach ulcers.

7. Helps to keep your eyes healthy:

The Fiddleheads plant is rich in vitamin A and 100g of Ostrich Fern represents 72% of the daily nutritional value advised. Containing vitamin A is one of the benefits of Fiddlehead Fern which improves eyesight and prevents the development of night blindness and macular degeneration as we age.

8. Good for heart health:

Eating extra fast food, candy, and soft drinks is bad for your heart. Fiddlehead Fern plant is rich in minerals such as antioxidants and calcium, which are essential for a healthy heart. Including antioxidant-rich foods into the daily diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

9. Anti-inflammatory:

The benefits of Fiddlehead can be seen in case of inflammation as it contains antioxidants that protect your body cells from the harmful effects of free radicals and reduces the inflammation in the body.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vitamin C was inversely related to major mercury for inflammation in the body – the C-reactive protein – the more vitamin C, the lower the intake.

10. Beneficial for skin:

Healthy skin is a shield for you from the sun’s harmful rays, especially the ultraviolet rays that can damage skin cells. Healthy skin provides vitamin D to the body when it comes to exposure of the sun, and vitamin D is essential for many bodily functions. Ostrich Fern is an excellent source of antioxidants, which protects the skin by limiting the production of free radicals, which can damage the skin cells. Thus, the benefits of Fiddlehead Fern are also seen in the skin.

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Uses of Fiddlehead Fern/Ostrich Fern

  • Fiddlehead Fern is especially used as a food item. Fiddlehead Fern is used in a variety of vegetable dishes. It is also used in conjunction with meat and rice. 
  • Its dried root powder can be used in the treatment of diseases. 
  • It is also used in making pickles and chutneys. As an antidote to various diseases, these plants can be used in various forms as- Soup. However, Fiddlehead Fern should not be consumed in raw form.

Side effects of Ostrich Fern/Matteuccia Ftruthiopteris

Consuming improperly cooked Fiddlehead Fern will witness a lot of adverse conditions. This can lead to Nausea, Vomit, Stomach Ache, Diarrhea, Headache, and Severe Food Poisoning, etc.

Therefore, the Ostrich Fern should be thoroughly soaked for 10-15 minutes or more before using it and then used regularly as a medicine to cure the disease.


This article gives you a brief overview of Fiddleheads; talking about the nutritional elements it contains, uses benefits and harmful sides of Ostrich Fern. We hope that the information included in this article will benefit you in a variety of ways. Thank You!

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