Mula (Austral Bracken)

Kathrine Clarke (b.1988)
Austral Bracken (Mula) ferns are a perfect insect repellent, and were used to relieve stings and itching caused by bites or cuts. Curled tips of the fern have a nutty taste and can be eaten, once soaked for 24 hours and then dried; removal of the hairs is necessary to avoid irritation. Eating a large amount can cause stomach cancer, so do not over-consume. The roots and tubers are roasted and beaten into a paste that can be applied to the skin as a plaster and antiseptic for sores and burns. Root tea was used for the treatment of stomach cramps and sometimes diarrhoea, and a smoking of the fern and roots can soothe headaches. The plant can also be boiled and its natural oils extracted and turned into a wash to promote hair growth. You can bite the leaf to extract its juice and apply it to any irritation, or to minor cuts on the skin. The name Mula is derived from the Dja Dja Wurrung and Djab Wurrung languages.

© Kathrine Clarke
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Object detail

acrylic and pencil on canvas
20.4 x 14.6 cm
Accession Number
Credit line
Purchased 2018
Object Type
Named Collection
Medical History Museum Category


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