Last update May 4, 2024


Very Low Risk

Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.

Polypodium leucotomos is a species of fern in the family Polypodiaceae. The South American species is known locally as “calaguala” or lizard grass; extracts from the root of this fern are called “anapsos”. They contain calagualin, polypodin, phenolic compounds, quinic acid, chlorogenic acid, fatty acids and tannins. Traditional use in Central and South America and Europe in multiple conditions, both orally to treat bronchitis, as well as topically on the skin in psoriasis, atopic eczema, vitiligo or melasma. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, photoprotective and immunomodulatory properties are attributed to it (, Salazar 2024, Segars 2021, Berman 2016), but there is insufficient evidence of its efficacy (Searle 2021, Choudhry 2014, MurciaSalud 2006). Other types of ferns would have similar properties and uses.

At the time of the last update we found no published data on its excretion in breast milk.

Except for possible gastric irritation and sedation, it lacks toxicity, but it can enhance the sedative, hypotensive or cardiotonic effects of drugs or other plants, so they should not be consumed together, nor abuse or exceed the prescribed dose and much less during lactation.

It is a medication considered of low therapeutic usefulness. (INSALUD 2001)

The low plasma absorption of most topical dermatological preparations makes the passage of significant amounts into breast milk unlikely. The topical use of anapsos on the skin can be considered safe during lactation.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Calaguala is also known as

Calaguala in other languages or writings:


Calaguala belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Calaguala in its composition:


  1. Salazar-Chacón Y, Gutierrez-Bolaños MJ, Padilla-Cordero J, Vidaurre-Rodriguez C, Carvajal-Miranda Y, Rojas-Alvarado A, Rodríguez-Rodríguez JA, Rodríguez-Rodríguez G, Álvarez-Valverde V, Jiménez-Bonilla P. Exploration of photoprotective and antibiotic activity of wild Polypodiaceae ferns from Costa Rica. Sci Rep. 2024 Jan 18;14(1):1602. Consulted on May 4, 2024 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  2. Searle T, Ali FR, Al-Niaimi F. Systemic photoprotection in 2021. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2021 Oct;46(7):1189-1204. Abstract
  3. Segars K, McCarver V, Miller RA. Dermatologic Applications of Polypodium leucotomos: A Literature Review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2021 Feb;14(2):50-60. Epub 2021 Feb 1. Review. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  4. Berman B, Ellis C, Elmets C. Polypodium Leucotomos--An Overview of Basic Investigative Findings. J Drugs Dermatol. 2016 Feb;15(2):224-8. Review. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  5. Choudhry SZ, Bhatia N, Ceilley R, Hougeir F, Lieberman R, Hamzavi I, Lim HW. Role of oral Polypodium leucotomos extract in dermatologic diseases: a review of the literature. J Drugs Dermatol. 2014 Feb;13(2):148-53. Review. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  6. Murciasalud. ¿Existe evidencia que recomiende el uso de Polypodium Leucotomos o de glicofosfopeptical en el tratamiento preventivo de las infecciones respiratorias de las vías altas recurrentes? Banco de Preguntas Preevid. 2006 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. INSALUD. Área de Gestión de Farmacia. Subdirección General de Atención Primaria. Instituto Nacional de la Salud. Utilidad terapéutica de los medicamentos financiados por el Sistema Nacional de Salud. . 2001 Full text (in our servers)

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