Q. Years ago on a hike in an Oregon forest I was complaining about the itch of a mosquito bite. A fellow hiker said she knew a remedy that Native Americans supposedly used: apply the juice from crushed stems of bracken ferns to the bite.
It works beautifully. Bracken ferns grow like weeds in our yard, so there is a ready supply. I cut the stem low where it is thick and fleshy, crush it and apply the juice to the bite. It never fails.
A. Bracken ferns (Pteridium aquilinum) are found in woodlands throughout North America. We looked for references to the use of bracken fern for this purpose but could not find any in the medical literature.
There are anecdotal reports from Australia that bracken fern sap can be applied to alleviate the pain of ant bites or the itch from “mozzie bites.” This was an old Aboriginal remedy.