Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
Horsetail grows along roadways and waste areas in sandy soil, although it will grow just about anywhere. This plant is rather unusual. It grows two different types of stems. One grows in early spring and looks kind of like asparagus while the other grows in summer with thin green sterile stems with circlets of needle-like leaves. It contains more silica than any other plant, and silica helps the connective tissues of the body. It also contains calcium. It has been around for over 300 million years. The ancient Greeks used this herb for its astringency.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Horsetail is anticonvulsant and has sedative qualities when used in high doses. It is most frequently used as an herbal diuretic. It helps to flush out infectious bacteria from the bladder and it doesn't change the electrolyte levels in the body. It is currently being studied as a treatment for memory loss due to age. The herb is used for prostate problems, incontinence, urethritis and cystitis. It is also useful for hemorrhage, osteoporosis and arthritis. Due to the high silica content, horsetail can be helpful in repairing cartilage and connective tissue as well as wounds.
Externally Horsetail will boost the health of skin and nails. It can also be applied to stop hemorrhage. A compress can be made to treat wounds. It strengthens and helps with epithelial regeneration of the skin. It is useful for burns, sprains and fractures.
Other Uses The herb is often used in cosmetics.
Aerial parts The aerial portion is used medicinally.
When taking horsetail, be sure to drink enough water to remain hydrated. Do not take this herb if you have kidney stones. If you take ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure or have congestive heart failure, do not use this herb. If you are pregnant, it would be advisable to avoid. This herb can be an irritant and should be used for limited times only. It is not to be used for children.
Preparation and Dosage
Horsetail can be found commercially as tea, tinctures and in capsules. To make herbal tea, add 2 to 3 grams of horse tail to 1 cup boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes, and then strain after 10 to 15 minutes. Drink the tea between meals during the day. An infusion can be made by boiling 1.5 grams of herb in 1 cup of water. Steep the infusion for 30 to 40 minutes. Take 4 ounces of the herbal infusion three times per day.