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A Note on this Materia Medica

Each botanical write up is compiled from my notes taken at various herbal schools, favorite herb books and personal experience. This information is for general health and information only. Nothing contained in the herbal monographs should be taken as medical advice. People passionate about living a holistic lifestyle and the uses of plant medicine will find something of interest here. This project is dedicated to my love of herbs and a place where I can share with others who feel the same. This is a work in progress and as I go through my notes and continue my studies I will be updating and adding new herbs. Thank you for being here!

-Colleen, Head Witch

HORSETAIL

Equisetum arvense, E.fluviatile,
E. hyemale, E. laevigatum, palustre,
E. telmateia, E. varigatum 

Common Names: Horsetail, Field Horsetail, Shavegrass, Water Horsetail, Swamp Horsetail, Marsh Horsetail, Giant Horsetail, Devils Guts
Family: Equisetaceae
Part/s Used: The thallus or young, infertile shoots, fertile stalks (above ground parts) 
Energetics: Neutral
Taste: Astringent, bland, bitter and salty
Actions: Nutritive, diuretic, astringent, hemostatic
Constituents: Silica, calcium, chromium, fluorine, iron, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A and moderate amounts of aluminum, cobalt, niacin, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, selenium, sodium, sulfur, tin, vitamin C and low amounts of thiamine, zinc, fatty acids, B5 and beta carotene.  
Planet: Saturn
Element: Earth

Medicinal Preparations:

Tincture (ratio & alcohol %): Fresh: 1:5 95%

Acetum Extract: Fresh infertile stalks: 1:2 ACV  

Tea: Strong decoction
Times a day: 3-4x or use the tea topically 

Topical: Apply the fomentation, poultice, oil (Alcohol intermediary method) or salve

Habitat and Botanical Description: 

Horsetail is an herbaceous perennial plant native to the arctic and temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. It is an ancient plant that has been around for about 200 million years. Horsetail plants the size of large pine trees dominated the forest landscapes during the time of the dinosaurs. Today it is much smaller and can be found in moist to wet wooded areas near marshes, streams and rivers.

Medicinal Uses:

The fertile stems of horsetail are an excellent tonic for the bones, long term osteoporosis, torn tendons and injured muscles or joints. Highly beneficial for post-surgery to accelerate healing when taken internally. Horsetail strengthens the connective tissue, especially elastic tissues such as the lungs and bladder. This is useful in conditions like bronchitis ammonia or weak inflamed lungs from asthma.  Beneficial for chronic sinus infections or a lingering cold. It decreases excessive secretions and bloody sputum from irritation due to its astringent properties. 

Horsetail strengthens the bladder and is useful in chronic reoccurring bladder infections. This can be a sign of cystitis or weak tissues. Drinking the tea or consuming the tincture will reduce susceptibility to these conditions. Making a tea (decoction best) of horsetail will help with kidney stones, UTI and edema by gently detoxifying and removing waste products from the body. Horsetail contains flavonoids that are useful for long term use of spider veins, varicose veins by strengthening weak blood vessels and improving elasticity. 

Harvesting:

Harvest the infertile stalks when they are about 6-12 inches tall just as the “bristles “are opening. Be sure to harvest in a clean, unpolluted area as horsetail is known to accumulate toxins from the environment. 

Beauty:

Horsetail strengthens the skin, hair and nails and is perfectly paired with nettles both internally and topically. 

Contraindications:

Do not consume the plant itself, but only in extractions and decoction. Use in moderation for children, elderly, weak. Horsetail can be drying and consuming excessive amount can irritate the kidneys. Do not use with obstructive kidney stones, inflammatory kidney disease, edema when caused by heart or kidney function or with pharma diuretics.

 Sources:

  • Popham, Sajah. Alchemical Herbalism Course. School of Evolutionary Herbalism. Lecture Notes; 2020
  • Popham, Sajah. The Vitalist Herbal Practitioner Program. School of Evolutionary Herbalism. Lecture Notes; 2021
  • Sinadinos, Christa. The Essential Guide to Western Botanical Medicine. Fieldbrook, CA; 2020
  • Sinadinos, Christa. Northwest School for Botanical Studies Course. Lecture Notes; 2014
  • Wood, Matthew. The Book of Herbal Wisdom. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 1997. pp 253-257

Disclosure: This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.